Q: I was involved in a collision for the first time last week and had no idea what I was supposed to do. What steps should I take?
A: Being involved in a traffic collision can be traumatic, especially your first one, so it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. After any vehicle collision, no matter how minor, you must stop. Otherwise you could be convicted of a hit-and-run offense and could be severely punished.
At the scene of a crash, show the following information to the other driver or persons involved, or to any peace officer:
• Driver’s license.
• Registration card.
• Evidence of insurance.
• Current address.
If you hit a parked vehicle or other property, try to find the owner. If you can’t find the owner, leave a note with your name and address (and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle you are driving, if different) and securely attach it to the vehicle. Report the collision without delay to the city police or, in unincorporated areas, to the Highway Patrol.
Following a crash, you or your insurance agent, broker or legal representative must do the following:
• Move your vehicle off the street or highway. If you do not move your vehicle or have it removed from the street or highway, any peace officer or authorized personnel may have your vehicle removed and impounded
• If someone is killed or injured, report the collision to the police or Highway Patrol within 24 hours.
• If there was more than $750 in damage to the property of any person, or anyone was injured or killed, report the collision to the DMV within 10 days.
The DMV provides a brochure on what to do in the case of a collision. You can find it online atwww.dmv.ca.gov.
Q: I am moving out of state. I know I need to re-register my vehicle. Should I notify California DMV that my car will no longer be in the state?
A: Whenever you move, you should report the change of address to the DMV using a Change of Address form. Save time by going online at www.dmv.ca.gov/online/coa/welcome.htm.
Report in writing to the DMV that the vehicle was removed from California and will be registered in another state or country. Your letter must include the following information:
• California license plate number, and/or vehicle identification number.
• The date the vehicle left California (month, day and year), and mail to:
P.O. Box 942869, MS C271
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
A status will be added to the vehicle record to prevent billing notices from being mailed.
Q: Is it possible to remove points from your driving record?
A: Points are not something you want on your driving record, and they can be assigned as a result of collisions or traffic tickets. Generally, collisions where you are at fault are count as one point; tickets between one and two points.
The only way to remove points from a driving record is to wait. Most points stay on your record for three years. Depending on their severity, points may stay on your record for up to 10 years.
To avoid accruing points, always follow the traffic laws and avoid reckless behavior. Be certain you are driving defensively and never distracted.
For more information on points on your driving record, www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/actions_aps_court.htm.
The DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Acting Undersecretary Traci Stevens. The DMV licenses drivers, maintains driving records, registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels, investigates auto and identity-related fraud, and licenses car dealers, driving schools and traffic violator schools. For more information about the DMV, visit www.dmv.ca.gov.