A few weeks ago, I went to DMV office in California to renew my driver license. They asked me to take an 18-question renewal test. I took the test and passed it and received my renewed driver license, assuming it's a normal procedure for everyone.

Subsequently, I learned that not even one of my colleagues or friends were asked to take this test. In all my life, I've only had two parking tickets. Is that the reason that I was asked to take the test?


What a bastard of a thing to find out!

OK, California law authorizes the DMV to make regulations for "a program of selective testing of applicants" and also requires the renewal notice to tell you if you do. This law came into force in 2011 but was amended in 2018 - I don't know what it said before that.

Clearly such regulations have been made but I'm buggered if I can find them.

However, if you need to do a knowledge test you have to renew in person and you can only renew by mail/online twice before needing to renew in person. While not conclusive, it seems like you have to take the test every 3rd renewal. Since the license is only renewed every 5 years, your time has only just come up and your colleagues or friends haven't yet.

  • Awesome: What a bastard of a thing to find out! :D
    – MTMD
    Nov 26 '19 at 2:46
  • Thank you very much, @Dale. Really appreciate your effort on finding the answer. It was the first time I was renewing tho.
    – MTMD
    Nov 26 '19 at 2:48
  • 1
    @MTMD They could be making everyone do it since the law changed or they could be splitting renewals into thirds to spread the load.
    – Dale M
    Nov 26 '19 at 3:46

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