Friday, August 31, 2012


Virginia DMV App Available for Your Smartphone

Conduct Transactions, Find Closest Offices, Check Wait Times

RICHMOND - The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recently launched an Android mobile operating system application that allows customers to access DMV services through their Android-based smartphones.

The new VADMV app has a wide range of features including access to more than two dozen DMV transactions. VADMV app users can set up a myDMV account, create a personal identification number and conduct a variety of transactions including renewing decals and driver's licenses.

The app has an office locator feature that uses a smartphone's global positioning system (GPS) to locate the customer, and to display the closest DMV offices and their average wait times. If users select a specific DMV office, details such as hours and HAZMAT fingerprinting availability are displayed. Users may tap or select the DMV office's address to obtain driving directions. If a customer wants to talk to a DMV representative before traveling to an office, tapping on the DMV phone number will automatically dial it.

"If a customer is applying for a driver's license, for example, they can read the driver's manual and take a sample knowledge exam on their phone right before the real test," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. All DMV sample knowledge exams are available through the VADMV app including the motorcycle license exam and commercial driver's license exam. Before taking a sample exam, DMV app users can view the Virginia Driver's Manual.

If users want to purchase license plates, they may browse the more than 200 specialty plates offered in Virginia. Customers can use the app's interactive feature to try out different letter and number combinations, and create a personalized license plate.

The VADMV app also includes a News and Alerts feature where users can get the latest DMV news releases about traffic safety, new service options or upcoming office closures.
One feature that will soon be added to the VADMV app is the interactive Virginia crash map where users can get a street-level view of crashes on specific intersections or roadways, and generate crash statistics based on injuries, fatalities and locality. And, VADMV app users will soon be able to schedule an appointment to take their DMV road tests.

The free app is available through Virginia DMV's website at or through Andoid Market/Google Play. DMV is currently developing a similar iOS app for Apple-based products including iPhones and iPads.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


As reported by

RENO--Nevada's new state law requiring owners of off-highway vehicles, including dirt bikes, to register and title their vehicles went into effect on July 1, 2012.

The Washoe County Sheriff's and District Attorney's Offices remind all owners of off-highway vehicles, or OHVs, manufactured in 1976 or newer, that they must register their vehicle and properly display the registration decal in order to legally operate their vehicles in Nevada.

According to the Nevada Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles, OHVs include, but are no limited to all-terrain vehicles, all-terrain motorcycles, dune buggies, snowmobiles, and "any motor vehicle used on public lands for the purpose of recreation."

Nevada's new statute requires that OHVs purchased prior to July 1, 2012 must be registered by July 1, 2013.  Titles are optional for OHVs purchased before July 1, 2012.

OHVs purchased after July 1, 2012 must be registered and titled within 30 days of purchase.

Registration applications are accepted and decals are issued by mail only.

For additional resources and information about the registration and operation of Off-Highway vehicles in Nevada, visit the official website of the Nevada Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles at; or call (775) 684-4381.

Washoe County is currently reviewing local ordinances related to the operation of OHVs on public roads based on the state's new registration requirements.  However, all current state and local regulations and restrictions pertaining to OHV operation remain in effect, regardless of whether or not an OHV is registered, until such time as new regulations are formally adopted by the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners.

Monday, August 27, 2012



Are you (or do you know) a professional truck driver?  Do you carry a Commercial Driver’s License?  If so, some good news may be headed your way.

Currently, California law prohibits professional drivers from attending traffic school to mask citations on their records, even for citations received while driving their personal vehicles, including motorcycles.  However, this may soon change.

The law was adopted eight years ago to comply with federal rules, however many have argued that the law unfairly punishes commercial drivers by denying them access to traffic school for citations received when they are off the clock.  In fact, doing so has had a significantly negative impact on professional drivers’ abilities to maintain employment.  Most employers of commercial drivers require their drivers to maintain low point counts on their records.  Under the new law insurance companies would still be notified of the violations, but if the driver attends an approved traffic school course, such as, the POINTS would not be included, which is most significant.  It’s the number of points on a driving record that determine whether or not a driver’s license is suspended and influences most employer’s decisions whether or not to hire drivers.

Advocates for the new law argue that violations in non-commercial vehicles should be treated the same way for all drivers, whether the driver possesses a commercial driver’s license or not.

It looks like the state senate agrees.  They voted unanimously to advance the bill – AB1888 – which is now headed back to the state assembly for approval.  A majority vote would send the bill to Governor Brown’s desk.

You can follow the status of AB1888 by clicking here.



It sounds like the California Legislature has caved as they have passed a new law that allows hands-free texting while driving in California.  Beginning January 1, 2013, it will be LEGAL to TEXT while you drive –AS LONG AS YOU DON’T TOUCH YOUR PHONE.

That’s right.  Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will allow California drivers to TEXT while driving as long as they are using “hands-free” technology.  And when they say “hands-free” they mean “hands-free.”  Although the new law sounds like it is backpeddling, under the new law you will not be able to touch your phone to text.  

Doing so would be a violation of the law and would still warrant a ticket.

So for all you iPhone users out there…. It’s time to lobby Apple to start making deals with auto-makers out there to make Apple software compatible with your vehicles. Same with Google and its Androids.  Because just the act of turning on your phone or pushing any of its buttons while driving is enough to still get you a citation.  Siri cannot help you here.  iPhones require that you push the Siri button to activate the capabilities. Androids require pushing a Google App.  Same with other phones.  However, if your phone can be controlled from your steering wheel or voice alone, then you’re in luck.

But is this a good thing?  Matt Kaminsky, president and CEO of, doesn’t think so.


“Anything that takes your attention away from the road is dangerous.  Physical distractions, such as pushing buttons and turning knobs, are only one type of distraction.  Mental distractions are just as dangerous.  Texting, emailing, posting to facebook – all these things take mental focus, even if verbalized.  My fear is that by giving drivers these capabilities, we’re encouraging them to use them even more, and increasing the dangers rather than diminishing them.”

In an attempt to sell more vehicles, auto-makers are trying to load new cars with as many bells and whistles as possible, such as hands-free commands for auto functions.  It’s no wonder that the bill, AB 1536, also known as the “Freedom to Communicate” act, was sponsored by the auto industry.

Really?  Do we really need more freedom to communicate in our vehicles?  Have our freedoms truly been compromised by restricting texting while driving?  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, 5,474 people were killed in the U.S. and an estimated 448,000 were injured in motor vehicles that were reported to have involved distracted driving.

With numbers like – go ahead and restrict my “freedoms.” 

What do you think?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

California's taking the lead on self-driving cars

Published: Sunday, Jun. 3, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jun. 3, 2012 - 8:58 am
California is quietly positioning itself at the leading edge of what could be the biggest revolution in daily travel since the day the buggy was unhitched from the horse.
The self-driving, or autonomous, car, seen by many as a "Jetsons"-like futuristic dream, may be less than a decade from commercial reality, some researchers now say, pushed forward in good part by an unlikely California company – Web giant Google.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Many Virginians are unaware of an interesting statute used by defense attorneys and judges throughout Virginia that allows a charge of RECKLESS DRIVING to be reduced to what’s known as IMPROPER DRIVING.   Improper driving is specified in the Virginia code under section 46.2-869.

Why is this important for you as a driver?

Matt Kaminsky, president of, a DMV-licensed computerized driver improvement clinic in Virginia says: “A reckless driving conviction in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor, whereas an improper driving conviction is only a traffic infraction, so any driver facing a reckless driving charge should request and vie for the reduced charge of improper driving.  Drivers should consult a licensed defense attorney for legal advice, but it’s important for Virginia drivers to know that this is a possible option for them, versus just throwing in the towel.” 

This is a great advice for many reasons, as a reckless driving conviction has a much more severe impact on your record and your wallet than an improper driving conviction does.

Let’s compare:

Class 1 misdemeanor
Maximum $2500 fine
Up to 12 months in Jail
Up to 6 months suspension of your driver’s license
6 points on your record
Remains on your record for 11 years

Traffic infraction
Maximum $500 fine
No jail time
No license suspension
3 points on your record
Remains on your record for 3 years

As you can see, it’s in your best interests to be aware of this statute and to have it in your arsenal of options.  However, just because the statute exists doesn’t guarantee a reduction.  Judges and prosecutors have the power to amend your charge, but usually only exercise the option when your culpability is slight (meaning it’s a minimal case)

So what constitutes a minimal case?  This can vary court to court, but for instance, borderline speed (a charge of speeding just slightly over the limit for what’s considered reckless) is an instance where a judge may give a little.  Also if you were charged as being at fault in an accident, many times the officer on the scene will write you up for reckless driving because that’s all they can charge.  They cannot write an improper driving ticket. Therefore when a judge is presented with all the evidence, he or she may reduce your charge.

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, or find yourself charged anytime in the future, just know that depending on the severity of your charge, you may have the option of reducing it to improper driving.

Isn’t this option a whole lot better than the alternative?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nevada DMV Issues First Autonomous Vehicle Testing License to Google
Google's self-driving test vehicle will display a red license plate with an infinity symbol

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has approved Google's license application to test autonomous vehicles on Nevada public roads.  It is the first license issued in the United States under new laws and regulations that put Nevada at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development.

After driver testing demonstrations along freeways, state highways and neighborhoods both in Carson City and the busy Las Vegas Strip, the department's Autonomous Review Committee met to review Google's safety plans, employee training, system functions and accident reporting mechanisms.  The committee approved the application and is now creating the state's first autonomous testing business license and license plates for the international company.  The license plates displayed on the test vehicle will have a red background and feature an infinity symbol on the left side.

"I felt using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the 'car of the future,'"  Department Director Bruce Breslow said.  "The unique red plate will be easily recognized by the public and law enforcement and will be used only for licensed autonomous test vehicles.  When there comes a time tat vehicle manufacturers market autonomous vehicles to the public, that infinity symbol will appear on a green license plate."

Google was the first company to file an application with the department to test their autonomous system.  Other auto manufacturers have indicated their desire to test and develop autonomous technology in Nevada in the future.

How do you feel about self-driving vehicles on your roads?

Welcome to the future!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Well, it seems that the state of Nevada is a little more progressive than a lot of people give it credit for. On January 1 of this year, Nevada became only the 10th U.S. state to pass a state law prohibiting the use of  hand-held cell phones while driving.  The law also applies to TEXTING while driving.

NEVADANS BEWARE:  The police are out in full force and thousands of Nevadans have already been ticketed.  Hundreds of warnings were issued for the last 3 months of last year to help prepare people for the new law.  But now that 2012 is off and running, enforcement is strict and police are citing those who ignore the law.

Keep in mind that you may still talk using a hands-free headset and are allowed to touch the phone to “activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.”  However, anything beyond that has been deemed dangerous and you will be cited for doing so.  The Office of Traffic Safety reports that the Las Vegas Metropolitan police issued a staggering 2,261 tickets just in the first quarter of this year.  An additional 1,645 tickets were issued by the Nevada Highway Patrol’s northern command.  All in all – this is having a significant impact on Nevadan’s wallets and driving records.

The fines are:

$50 -    for the first offense in seven years
$100 -  for the second
$250 -  for the third and subsequent offenses

Fines are DOUBLED if the offense takes place in a work zone!

The only good news is that the FIRST offense is not treated as a moving violation for DMV and insurance purposes.  But after the first violation…you’re out of luck and your finances could take an additional hit due to insurance increases.

HINT: According to authorities, cellphone use while at a stoplight is the NUMBER ONE violation of the new law. 

While we all may feel like this new law provides us less freedom, the ultimate goal is to save lives.

Here are just a few scary statistics:

• A recent study identified talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel as roughly equivalent to having consumed two strong drinks of alcohol.

• About 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year.

• Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.

• Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

• Almost 50% of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting and driving.

So while the law is an adjustment, it just proves that Nevada cares about its people.  It will take a little adjustment, but really it shouldn’t be that hard.  Get yourself an inexpensive earphone or think about having your vehicle wired with a hands-free device that uses your vehicle’s own stereo system as the speakers.

Nevada joins California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia – along with Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. in passing this type of legislation.

Isn’t it about time?

Shouldn’t all states jump on board?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - TWO TIME WINNER Receives 2012 Best of Mechanicsville Award

U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

NEW YORK, NY, April 17, 2012 -- For the second consecutive year, has been selected for the 2012 Best of Mechanicsville Award in the Education category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).  The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Nationwide, only 1 in 70 (1.4%) 2012 Award recipients qualified as Two-Time Award Winners. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2012 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)

U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.
The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

U.S. Commerce Association

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The FACTS about California's new traffic school law

Lots of rumors floating around about a new law in California that impacts a driver's ability to take TRAFFIC SCHOOL to dismiss a citation from his or her driving record after receiving a traffic ticket.

While it's true that a new California law took effect on July 1, 2011 that changes the way traffic violations appear on your DMV record, it is NOT true that taking traffic school will no longer have an impact.  Taking traffic school will still play a significant role in keeping your driving record clean and keeping your insurance rates low.

Let's take a look at the facts to clear up any confusion:


• CA law allowed drivers to take traffic school once every 18 months
• Completing traffic school allowed for the courts to DISMISS the infraction from the driving record
• The citation would not appear on the DMV record
• The insurance companies would not see the infraction, therefore no insurance increases

Traffic school expert explains the problem with this system:

Matt Kaminsky, the president & CEO of, says,  "The old system provided a loophole for REPEAT OFFENDERS.  Under this program, since the infraction never appeared on the DMV record, the DMV had no way of actually knowing how many times a driver had attended traffic school within an 18-month period.  The result is that repeat offenders were often able to take traffic school 3, 4, or 5 times within an 18-month period without the DMV having a way of tracking this history."

The new policy closes the loophole that Kaminsky speaks of.


• CA law allows drivers to take traffic school once every 18 months
• All infractions will show on the DMV record as driving convictions, giving the DMV the ability to track repeat offenders and prevent them from abusing the 18-month law
• Completing traffic school allows for the FIRST driving conviction within an 18-month period to be MASKED on your driving record
• The insurance companies will NOT be able to see the masked convictions, therefore NO INSURANCE INCREASE.

In reality, very little has changed.  The new law only affects those people out there who were trying to trick the system by attending traffic school more than the law allowed for.

So ignore the rumors and absorb the facts above.  

BOTTOM LINE:  If you receive a ticket, you'd be crazy not to attend traffic school if given the opportunity to do so.  Not only could you learn something beneficial that could make you a better driver, but you'll mask your conviction from your insurance company and keep your insurance rates low.

Ultimately, isn't that really what we're all looking for?