Capitol Alert

Spanish videos to boost California DMV’s outreach

The latest California DMV spokesman, El Sabeltodo, aims to assist Spanish-speaking customers.
The latest California DMV spokesman, El Sabeltodo, aims to assist Spanish-speaking customers. California Department of Motor Vehicles screenshot

When it comes to bureaucracies, the Department of Motor Vehicles can be difficult to navigate in any language.

But California’s Spanish-speakers will soon have a new resource: a romance language counterpart to the popular DMV series in which “Answerman” responds to common driver queries. Appearing in a series of new videos will be “El Sabelotodo del DMV,” or “Mr. Know-It-All of DMV.”

The timing coincides with a likely surge of new DMV customers who learned English as a second language. A landmark law offering licenses to immigrants in the country illegally takes effect on Jan. 1, a massive undertaking that has led the DMV to spend millions on new staff and conduct workshops around the state.

“Especially with (the new law) coming up, we want to make sure we’re targeting our Spanish customers,” said Jessica Gonzalez, a DMV spokeswoman.

The Spanish series will cover familiar topics like how to get a license or register a vehicle that apply to legal and undocumented residents alike. DMV staff has already shot three videos scheduled to run this year. Likely coming next year will be clips answering questions specific to the new law.

“We’ll kind of go over that list with people: OK, these are some of the things you’re going to need,” Gonzalez said, from documents immigrants can use to establish their residency to the demands of written and vision tests.

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