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Virginia DMV History

Virginia’s motor vehicle history dates back to 1906 when Virginia required licensing and registration of the first motor vehicles.  Not long after, in 1910, it was recognized that highways could be funded using monies paid by motor vehicles, and the processes of registration and licensure began to carry fees.  


For 9 years, laws pertaining to motor vehicles were virtually nonexistent and were definitely not governed by an organized entity.  In 1919, when the Automobile Acts were passed, drivers saw the dawn of the titling laws and new powers of enforcement were granted to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.


The Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles was then officially established in 1923.  Prior to this establishment as a separate government agency, the majority of duties were the responsibility of police offers.  Once established, however, the department of law enforcement was moved to the new DMV department.


1928 brought license testing requirements and vehicle safety inspections.  This year also brought about a separation of departments and the Division of Motor Vehicles and Department of State Police became independently existing entities.

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