Sacramento– To see the “Graying of California,” just look at the driver sitting in the car next to you.  Senior citizens are one of the fastest-growing age groups cruising down California roads and highways.  In fact, within the next 10 years, the number of drivers, 65 and older, is expected to nearly double to six million!  In 20 years, 20 percent of all drivers in the state will be seniors.

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is committed to keeping senior drivers as mobile as possible, for as long as possible and it is accomplishing that through its unique and successful Senior Ombudsman Office. For the past five years, it has been arming seniors with empowering information and critical learning tools to keep them driving safely! 

Core Facts

  1. In early 2006, the DMV tapped Charley Fenner to be its Senior Ombudsman. The 73-year old was the perfect choice to develop this innovative outreach program, since he was a long time DMV employee who could personally relate to the senior population. He is still leading the charge!

  2. Fenner’s five-person staff -- each of whom is located in or near major metropolitan areas of California -- has extensive backgrounds as DMV employees; including managing DMV offices, giving drive tests, and working in the department’s Driver Safety Branch.

  3. Organizations, like California AAA and AARP, offer courses that give seniors valuable tips and may even provide a confidence boost.

  4. The Senior Ombudsman Office staff has made more than 3,000 personal contacts since its creation and has worked closely with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to provide training and insight about senior drivers.

  5. In an attempt to reach even more seniors and their families, the Senior Driver Ombudsman Program is offering an informative “Senior Forum.” SENIOR FORUMS: May 27: 10AM E. M. Hart Senior Center 915 27th Street Sacramento, CA 95816 916-808-5462 May 31 1 p.m. Jocyln Adult Center 1301 West Olive Avenue Burbank, CA 91506 818-238-535

  6. The DMV Senior Ombudsman staff can be contacted by going online at , selecting the “seniors” button on the tool bar in the upper right-hand corner of the home page, then clicking on “ombudsman office.”



“This program is still the first and only one of its kind in the nation. We are proud of the way the Ombudsman Office has enabled California to more effectively deal with a hugely important segment of our current customer base – older drivers. The office is playing a critical role in helping to formulate strategies to meet the future needs of baby boomers, who will comprise an even larger segment of the driving public within the next 15 years.”

DMV Director George Valverde

“A lot of older drivers believe if they have any contact with the DMV, it is because we want to take away their license and mobility, and that is simply not the case. We are here to listen. Most people, especially seniors, just want to have somebody pay attention to their issues; they want to express themselves without being marginalized or stereotyped.”

Charley Fenner, DMV Senior Ombudsman

“I believe we should help seniors find their comfort level with restricted licenses, so they can safely drive on streets near their homes, to go shopping, to their doctor’s office or church. The fact is, many older drivers have already restricted themselves—they don’t drive on freeways, in strange areas or after dark. We can help them, their kids and grandchildren work through that process.”

John Locher, DMV Senior Ombudsman

Company information

Don't Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777–0133. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

24th May 2011

Main Press Contact

Michael Marando, Armando Botello, Jan Mendoza, Jaime Garza

Information Officers



[Driver Safety]

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