Last updateFri, 24 Jun 2016 5pm

Reviewing DMV policy on releasing license photos

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 – not to the public.

Hot-wiring is easy, and other car myths

Cars are more and more complex, yet many of us still believe some of the myths perpetuated by Hollywood – and our well-meaning parents back in the day. I’ve heard many car myths during my time in the industry and I’d like to put four of them to rest.

1. Hot-wiring a car is easy. How many times have we watched a movie in which an unsophisticated bad guy spends 20 seconds breaking into a car and hot-wiring it? Unfortunately – or fortunately, for all of us – this is most definitely a myth. Hot-wiring a car requires a lot more than a few simple twists of a wire.

Cadillac ELR: Unappreciated excellence

courtesy of Cadillac
The Cadillac ELR can go up to 40 miles on a full battery charge. After that, it switches on a gas-powered battery charger and continues driving for approximately 250 miles.

Attempting to be environmentally friendly citizens, we keep looking for the one automobile that would be fuel efficient, emissions sensitive and still meet nearly all of our transportation needs. It would be nice if it were also attractive and fun to drive.

Last month we drove a car we would place near the top of that list – the 2014 Cadillac ELR. It can go up to 40 miles on a full battery charge but then switch on its gasoline-powered battery charger and continue driving for at least another 250 miles.

Comparing, contrasting BMW i3 and Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Drive

courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Drive is slated for release in July.

California’s automobile emissions and fuel efficiency requirements are the toughest in the nation, as most of us know.

Sensational sedans: Toyota Avalon and Kia Cadenza offer style and comfort at an affordable price

courtesy of Kia
The 2014 Kia Cadenza offers 295 horsepower and has a combined fuel efficiency of 22 mpg.

Many car owners need a four-door sedan. These vehicles are suitable for a family road trip, an evening out with another couple or taking clients on a tour of the area.

Last month we drove two sedans that are ideal for such outings: the Toyota Avalon Limited and the Kia Cadenza. These 2014 models are stylish, comfortable and – best of all – affordable. And neither could be called soft, slow or uninspiring – all adjectives that once described all full-sized sedans.

Matt solves the mysterious case of the professor's brake shake

A car’s ability to brake effectively is obviously one of the most important components of safe driving.

Braking problems come in all shapes and forms – from intermittent squeaking to complete failure.

New fuel for thought Innovative cars, pumps are coming to California

Toyota has unveiled a fuel-cell concept car that could be in dealerships next year.

When we reported in December on announcements at the Los Angeles Auto Show of new developments in fuel systems, we were skeptical about the fuel-cell electronic vehicle (FCEV) concept cars presented by Toyota, Honda and Hyundai. That’s because we had been fooled before.

We were impressed by the 2013 Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell compact that we drove from New Orleans to San Antonio as part of its round-the-world tour. As we noted, hydrogen fuel-cell cars are technically superior to battery-electronic vehicles. They can be built with a 300-mile range and tanks that can be filled in five minutes.

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