DMV Online: What You Can and Can't Do Online

March 18, 2013

Services provided by the DMV online are growing in number and vary from state to state. The department of motor vehicles now offers various transactions to take place online, including taking a practice DMV online test before getting a driver's license, finding out information about courses for violations of traffic online, and vehicle registration.

What You Can Do
In the beginning, DMV offered basic services to their customers that included the ability to download driver's manuals and register to vote. The DMV has also offered several different forms they use that one can fill out at home before going to the DMV office. The DMV still has these services, but has added more to their data base. Now you can schedule an appointment for various on-site services, register a vehicle online, pay fees and fines, report an accident, and renew a driver's license or vehicle registration.

Some states allow DMV customers to obtain copies of specific documents relating to your driving record, auto insurance history, vehicle registration, etc. Conveniences some states have added to their DMV website that aren't usually found in most states include making a personalized vanity plate for a car, creating a souvenir plate to hang in a home or office, and finding the location in which a car has been towed.

What You Can't Do
Just as there are things you can accomplish through a DMV's website, there are just as many things you can't do online. First is the obvious, but the dream of many: you can't take a driver's test online in a virtual car. Also, if you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, you can't attend court virtually through the DMV website. You also can't obtain a driver's license or ID online in many states, especially if this is the first time you are getting a license. There may be instances as well when a DMV representative will have to inspect a car before allowing a person to register it--a service that must be done in person. If you're requesting information online, such as driving records or other personal information, you can only request it for yourself or possibly someone else in the household. Because of privacy laws, a person can't request personal information about a neighbor, coworker, etc. unless they are specially licensed to do so for legitimate purposed (like an insurance agent).

Many states don't allow a person to obtain a disabled parking permit online. Those making this type of request must have a doctor fill out a specific DMV form that states an individual is indeed disabled. Then the completed form needs to be given to a DMV agent. A handful of states, however, are starting to provide this service online.

The DMV is making an effort to be less of a hassle by providing several services online. These services not only can help you know what information will be needed of you for a particular transaction, but can also save you the headache of waiting in a DMV office all morning.