The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is chiefly responsible for registering vehicles and administering licenses for drivers. Other responsibilities include recording and registering ownership of vessels and recording ownership of the cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles that it registers. The DMV also issues identification cards to individuals and investigates consumer complaints.
The state-level government agency must be contacted to obtain personalized or specialty license plates. States may vary in their exact procedures and requirements for ordering these plates; some may allow for them to be ordered online, while others may require an in-person visit. The agency must also be contacted regarding transferring old license plates to a new vehicle, or to get a handicapped placard or license plate.
A key responsibility of the DMV is to maintain the driving records of license holders in each state. This includes any accidents and convictions. The agency also is responsible for licensing and regulating driving and traffic violator schools and their instructors, vehicle manufacturers, dealers and vehicle salespeople.
The DMV is responsible for administering the financial responsibility law. This is a law that requires all motor vehicle owners in a state to be able to pay for any damages as a result of an accident. They do not necessarily need liability insurance, but they must be able to show they can pay.