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New York DMV History

New York has long been aware of the need to regulate cars and their drivers. For example, New York City was the site of the first documented auto accident in US history. This unfortunate event took place on May 30th, 1896, during a 'horseless carriage race," when a driver lost control of his vehicle and collided with a bicyclist. However, the state did not create a separate department to regulate automobiles until 1959, when the New York Department of Motor Vehicles was separated out from another government department and given jurisdiction over registering vehicles and licensing drivers.

Today, the New York DMV still handles those responsibilities, but it has many others as well. For example, to ensure that New York drivers are aware of the rules of the road and the theories behind safe driving, the New York DMV regulates driver’s education classes and publishes handbooks on state traffic laws. In order to ensure that unsafe drivers do not continue to endanger others, the DMV maintains driving records for all New York drivers and takes action against repeat offenders. The DMV also works to prevent vehicle fraud and illegal auto sales. Finally, in addition to regulating vehicles and their drivers, the New York DMV also serves as "one-stop shopping" by assisting its customers in registering to vote and registering as organ donors. The New York DMV has also tried to keep up with the times by making many services available online.

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