DMV definition

The Department or Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a state-level government agency that administers vehicle registration and driver licensing in the United States of America.

The DMV is not used in every state or area, nor are the traditional DMV functions handled by a single agency in every state. However, the term is widely understood and used in this context.

Different jurisdictions use other titles instead of DMV, but they all take care of regulating driver’s licensing, vehicle registration, and vehicle titles. For example, some of the other names and acronyms used in states instead of DMV include:

Acronym Title Full Name State(s)
MDV Motor Vehicle Division Alabama, Arizona
HSMV Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Florida
DDS Department of Driver Services Georgia
DSD Driver Services Department Illinois
BMV Bureau of Motor Vehicles Indiana, Maine, Ohio
DOV Division of Vehicles Kansas
MVA Motor Vehicle Administration Maryland
RMV Registry of Motor Vehicles Massachusetts
DVS Driver and Vehicle Services Minnesota
MVS Motor Vehicle Division Montana, New Mexico
MVC Motor Vehicle Commission New Jersey
DOL Department of Licensing West Virginia

Note: This is not to be confused with the nickname DMV, commonly used for the metropolitan area of D.C. Maryland and Virginia.

In the United States, driver licensing and vehicle registration are handled by the state government in all states but Hawaii, where the local government performs DMV functions. Meanwhile, in Canada, driver licensing and vehicle registration are managed at the provincial government level.

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