Q: Hola, Gary. I write to interest you in a new policy at the DMV that few people know about, but one that can impact thousands of Californians. Here goes:
In February 2020, my former extern at the Superior Court, who went on to become an amazing appellate attorney in SF, was being treated for an aggressive form of breast cancer. When her driver’s license expired, she had lost all of her hair, was practically bald, and understandably did not want to have her photo taken for her license renewal, a requirement at the time.
She asked that the DMV use her existing photo (pre-cancer treatment). The DMV refused. So, she launched a one-woman campaign to get the California DMV to change its policy to allow drivers whose physical appearances had changed due to medical treatments (e.g., radiation, chemotherapy) to use their existing photos on file when renewing their licenses. On February 1, 2021, the DMV changed its photo policy to do just that.
That policy has been in effect for just over a year now, but practically no one knows about it. Hopefully, Mr. Roadshow will put the word out. I have cc’d my terrific extern, Kathryn Collier, who has won her battle with cancer, and who is my shero. Gracias!
Judge LaDoris Cordell (retired)
A: Judge Cordell is one of the most respected officials in the Bay Area. Thanks to her for helping us understand this important change the DMV has made. And I’m so glad your extern won her battle with cancer.
Q: I just renewed my driver’s license online. The next day I got a letter from the DMV saying to come into the office for a vision test. I went back to DMV website and it says 70-year-old folks do not have to come in, thanks to the governor exempting them through Dec. 31. What in the world is the correct information?
Charles Shoemaker, Sunnyvale
A: A DMV representative has reached out to Charles directly and clarified that he does not need to visit a DMV field office for this renewal. Eligible Californians age 70 and older can renew their non-commercial driver’s license or identification card online or by mail until Dec. 31, 2022, without a visit to their local DMV office, even if their renewal notice states a visit to a DMV field office is required.
Californians age 70 and older applying for a REAL ID for the first time will still need to visit a field office to complete the application. Drivers and ID cardholders can shorten these in-person visits by starting the REAL ID application online and uploading the required documents before visiting a field office.
Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at [email protected]
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