This is not about me, but it is a question that has come up with someone I know.

In California, if you show up to take the DMV drive test, and you can't take the test because of an equipment failure (e.g., your brake light is out), does this count as a failed drive test?

I have read over all the California DMV materials I could find, and I couldn't find any answer to this question.

  • 1
    Why does it matter?
    – Dale M
    Dec 16, 2019 at 2:11
  • 1
    @DaleM: According to dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/dl_info#fail, if you fail, you have to pay a retest fee to try again. If you are under 18, you also have to wait two weeks. And if you fail three times, you have to restart the licensing procedure from scratch, including paying another application fee and retaking the written test. So the question would be whether any of these provisions applies in case of inadequate equipment. Dec 16, 2019 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Partly copied from a longer list of requirements here :

The vehicle you use for your driving test must be safe to drive. Before the test, the examiner checks for:

Functioning front and back turn signals and brake lights.

Important: The behind-the-wheel driving test will be rescheduled if the vehicle does not meet the above requirements or if you refuse to use your seatbelt(s) during the driving test.

So it looks like it would count as a test that would have to be rescheduled, and not one that had been "failed".

In licensing terms it makes little difference. The person you know will not have passed a test, so will not be licensed to drive.


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