The DMV photo policy that almost nobody knows about: Roadshow


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.

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