The Department was created by legislative action on April 1, 1957. This action legislated the creation of a Department of Motor Vehicles to take over the duties of the Tax Commission and the Public Service Commission, for administering motor vehicle laws and drivers licensing duties.
Effective July 1, 1957, the Department was charged with the following responsibilities:
The legislation intended that the Department of Highways retain its control over the physical aspects of the public highways, and the Department of Motor Vehicles control the manner and type of use of the highways by the public.
The new Director was given the authority by law to organize the Department into various Divisions and alter such organizations and reassign responsibilities and duties as he deemed appropriate.
The Department was organized by statute with the following Divisions:
The Motor Vehicle Branch's first computer system went online in 1972, and served Nevada until 1999. Prior to this, driver license and registration records were stored on index cards.
In 1973, the Legislature changed the name of the fiscal and accounting division to the Administrative Services division. The duties and responsibilities remained the same.
In 1985, the Department's name changed adding "Public Safety" to the name because of the addition, in 1981, of the Division of Investigation and the Peace Officer Standards and Training Committee.
In 1993 and 1995, the Department received several additional public safety Divisions during a reorganization of state government. Over the years, DMV&PS was also charged with supporting a number of state boards and commissions. These included the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners and the State Emergency Response Commission.
In 1999, the Peace Officer Standards Training Committee was split off from the Department and became an independent agency. The DMV&PS Training Division was formed to train the department's peace officers.
Also in 1999, the Motor Vehicle Branch underwent an extensive reorganization and brought the new Genesis computer system online. The former Driver License and Registration divisions were merged into the present Field Services Division, while some specific sections were formed into new divisions.
In 2001, DMV&PS was split into the separate Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Public Safety. The DMV Compliance Enforcement Division has the DMV's sworn law enforcement officers.
The 1999 reorganization and smaller changes in subsequent years have established the Department of Motor Vehicles' current structure and divisions: