On The Road
- Published on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 00:00
- Written by George Valverde - Director, California Department of Motor Vehicles
Q: I have decided to be an organ and tissue donor. My license doesn’t expire for another three years and I want to change my organ donor status now. How can I do this?
A: You do not have to wait until your license expires to update your organ and tissue donor status. Simply visit www.DMV.ca.gov and click the “Donate Life California” link. From there you can become a registered donor and read answers to frequently asked questions and real-life organ donor and recipient stories. Congratulations on your decision to become an organ and tissue donor.
Q: My brother just purchased a motorcycle, and though he has a motorcycle license, I do not. Am I allowed to drive his bike?
A: No. Driving any motor vehicle without the proper license is against the law. If you are interested in legally driving your brother’s motorcycle, you should obtain your motorcycle (M1 or M2) license.
The procedure for acquiring a motorcycle license varies based on age, but all applicants must pass a written test first. For a checklist of what is required, visit www.DMV.ca.gov. This page will also provide a link to online services, where you can make an appointment for your DMV office visit. This will make your trip much easier. Save time – go online.
Q: If you rear-end someone, does the law always consider the collision your fault?
A: Although it is often the case, there is no law that determines which driver will be at fault in all cases. Still, it is important to know how to be a good defensive driver. To avoid a rear-end collision, remember to:
• Plan ahead. Look down the road 10-15 seconds ahead of your vehicle so that you can see hazards early.
• Scan. Look beyond the car ahead of you. Look at the movement of cars around you. Don’t develop a “fixed stare.”
• Don’t tailgate. Many drivers don’t see as far ahead as they should because they follow too closely. As a result, the vehicle immediately ahead blocks their view. Tailgating also gives you insufficient time to brake quickly.
• Adjust your speed. Slow down in poor weather. Rain and snow can cause vehicles to slip on the roadway. It also impairs your vision, affecting your ability to drive safely.
For more information on safe driving practices, visit www.DMV.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/scanning.htm.
Q: I have noticed photographs that appear to be taken from California DMV driver licenses on TV news programs. Does the DMV release driver-license photos to the media or other parties? If so, under what circumstances are the photos released?
A: The department’s policy is not to release DMV photographs unless the person is deceased and notification of next of kin has been verified. In those events, photos are released only to law enforcement agencies and not to the public.
George Valverde has served as California Department of Motor Vehicles director since 2006. He has been in public service for more than 30 years. Prior to his DMV appointment, he served as undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency.