Alaska’s motor vehicle laws and regulations are subject to change. Consult the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at www.doa.alaska.gov/dmv for current information or contact the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate legal assistance office if you have any questions.
Every person who operates a motor vehicle on Alaska streets, highways or other public property must have a valid Alaska driver’s license or permit unless an exemption applies. All drivers are asked to keep their address information current with Alaska DMV. United States military personnel who have a valid driver’s license issued by another state and who maintain permanent residence in that state need not obtain an Alaska driver’s license; family members, however, are not exempt.
Military personnel, your Alaska noncommercial license is valid while you are active duty and you choose to maintain residency in another state.
U.S. government personnel operating a government vehicle on official business are exempt from the Alaska driver’s license requirement.
Civilians in Alaska longer than 90 days must obtain an Alaska driver’s license.
If you become a resident of Alaska, you are required to obtain an Alaska license within 30 days.
Family members of military personnel and civilian employees are subject to Alaska licensing and registration requirements. Visit the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles office or the DMV website, www.doa.alaska.gov/dmv, for updates and more information.
Every vehicle in Alaska must be registered unless specifically exempted by law. There is an exemption for vehicles registered to active-duty military members stationed in Alaska on military orders who remain a resident of another state. Those individuals are not required to register their vehicles in the state of Alaska. However, nonresident active-duty military members may choose to register their vehicles in Alaska. In such cases, the nonresident active-duty military member will not be required to pay the Alaska vehicle registration tax but will be required to provide a copy of the member’s leave and earning statement (LES) or a military affidavit indicating their state of legal residence. An affidavit form is available on the state’s DMV website.
Vehicles registered to nonmilitary members are required to be registered within 10 days of becoming employed in the state.
If you intend to establish residency, you must register your vehicle within 10 days of entering the state or taking a job within the state. Required documents include a valid title, proof of insurance and a completed application. A nonresident may operate a vehicle registered in another state for up to 60 days.
All auto owners must maintain liability insurance for the following minimum amounts: $50,000 for bodily injury or death of any one person, $100,000 for bodily injury or death for any accident and $25,000 for property damage.
Drivers must show proof of insurance when operating a vehicle. Failure to do so could result in impoundment of the vehicle. Some rural areas are exempt from registration and from mandatory insurance. For more information, visit the Alaska DMV website.
Winter roads are a real challenge, so SLOW DOWN. Many drivers forget to adjust for snow-and-ice conditions. As a result, speed and slamming on the brakes cause countless accidents every winter.
On the other hand, front-wheel and four-wheel-drive autos with studded snow tires can reduce white-knuckle fever. For rear-wheel drive, center extra weight — such as sandbags — over the rear axle to help with sliding and traction. Also keep in your vehicle such emergency supplies as blankets, flares and food in case of breakdowns, bad weather or accidents.
If you’ve never driven on ice and snow, expect to learn when winter hits. Basically, snow and ice greatly reduce tire traction so your car or truck — four-wheel-drive or not — will take a lot longer to stop.
Clear vision also prevents accidents, so be sure to brush and scrape the snow and ice off your windshield, the rear and side windows and the outside mirrors, as well as your headlights and taillights.
Traffic, SUVs, motor homes and tourists abound, so drive defensively. Expect frequent stops — especially in scenic and wild-animal areas — and look out for hard-to-see motorcyclists and bicyclists. The long, warm days also signal road construction. Be alert for workers on the road, and pay attention to heavy equipment and speed-limit signs. Fines double in construction zones.