If there's one way to get a visceral response from someone, it's bringing up the DMV. Regardless of the reason, whether it's the long lines, disgruntled employees, or just general inefficiency, I have yet to meet a single person who doesn't mind the trip.
Just look at all those happy faces.
Unless you live in a rural area, DMV locations are almost always understaffed, which has a lot to do with those ridiculous lines. Instead of opening more of them or hiring additional employees, some states have decided to take some of the burden off the DMV by allowing residents to renew existing diver's licenses at AAA offices, even if they're not AAA members.
The laws vary quite a bit from state to state. In some states, you can renew your license online or by mail if AAA renewal is not allowed. Others require everyone to renew in person at the DMV. Here's the breakdown of what's allowed in each state. Click the link for your state to find out more details about the requirements.
* May also renew online or by mail
Note: Not all AAA locations in these states offer license renewal, so you'll need to contact your local branch to find out if it's an option. Some locations offer driver's license services by appointment only.
- Alabama (by mail only)
- Alaska (by mail only)
- Idaho (by mail only)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey (only by mail, if born on or before December 1, 1964)
- New Mexico (online only, by mail if military personnel)
- New York
- South Carolina (by mail only)
- South Dakota
- Vermont (by mail only)
- Wyoming (by mail only)
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
Note: In states where in-person renewal is required, there are exceptions for military personnel and those who are currently residing outside the state. Those individuals may renew by mail.
Even if you live in a state that doesn't allow AAA license renewals, many locations offer other DMV services. Different services are available at each branch depending on state laws. Some of the services offered include:
- Vehicle and vessel registration renewals
- Duplicate registration and stickers
- Driver's license change of address
- Release of liability
- Used vehicle transfers
- New and used boat transfers
- Duplicate plates
- Parking placards
- Personalized license plates
- Disabled plates
- Off highway vehicle registration renewal (dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.)
You can find out which specific services are available in you area by going to the AAA website and entering your zip code. Services are listed under Automotive -> Driving Resources.
A few states are starting to offer self-service kiosks where you can perform DMV transactions without having to visit an office. In Southern California, the kiosks are only for registration renewal, but in Nevada, they can do almost anything the DMV offers, including license renewals. Most are available 24 hours, which is convenient if you work during DMV business hours.
Have you used a self-service kiosk for a DMV transaction (or know of another state that has them)? Tell us about it in the comments below.