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DMV Appointments Are Free And California Wants To Keep It That Way

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Selling DMV appointments in California could soon become illegal.

The Senate unanimously passed Assembly Bill 317 Wednesday. According to the author, some people are booking appointments at the DMV then selling them for profit. If it's signed into law, those caught selling or offering to sell appointments would be charged with an infraction. An original version of the legislation would have made it a misdemeanor with a fine up to $2,500.

Analysis of AB 317 cites a company called YoGov, which offers a service to help people get an appointment. Customers pay $25 and, as the website claims, employees at Yogov are "constantly hitting refresh on DMV's website to look for dropped appointments in order to get the customer an earlier appointment."

Appointments made through the DMV are free.

Driving schools also book blocks of appointments and then sell them to students. This bill would also prohibit this practice.

It is unknown if this legislation will prevent people from asking for or giving help on websites such as Craigslist or TaskRabbit.

People can make appointments at the DMV up to 90 days in advance; however, those appointments are often quickly filled, forcing people to go in-person and wait. As of September 5, 2019, the first available appointment at the DMV is:

  • Auburn- 11/15
  • Carmichael- 11/21
  • Davis- 9/26
  • Fairfield- 9/26
  • Folsom- 12/4
  • Grass Valley- 11/5
  • Jackson- no appointments available
  • Lodi- 11/21
  • Manteca- 11/8
  • Modesto- 11/6
  • Placerville- 12/5
  • Rocklin- 11/21
  • Roseville- 11/21
  • Sacramento- 11/21
  • Sacramento South- 11/21
  • Stockton- 11/8
  • Tracy- 10/8
  • Turlock- 11/7
  • Willows- 9/25
  • Woodland- 9/26
  • Yuba City- 10/2

Many people have complained about the long wait times at the DMV, even for those who have appointments. In the summer of 2018, the average wait time for those without appointments was two hours and ten minutes; it increased to three hours and 21 minutes at the 20 busiest DMV offices. By January 2019, after the DMV added staff and streamlined some steps, the wait times dropped to 57 minutes and 95 minutes, respectively.

The DMV aims to make sure wait times for customers without an appointment don't exceed an hour; appointments for those with appointments are expected to take 18 minutes.

YoGov also offers a service called "DMV Line Concierges." Someone is paid to wait in a line on a customer's behalf. AB 317 would not prevent that from happening.

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