Everyone Has a Responsibility to Keep Motorcyclists Safe

June 9, 2014
Be sure to look out for motorcycles.

Be sure to look out for motorcycles.

OLYMPIA—Summer is here and the Department of Licensing, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, and the Department of Transportation are reminding drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders.

 
To raise awareness about tragic but preventable motorcycle crashes, 17 large road signs are scheduled to be installed this summer in locations across Washington where fatal motorcycle crashes are highest. These signs should remain in place for 10 to 15 years.
 
“Increasing safe motorcycle riding and cooperation among all road users is essential to reaching Washington’s goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “Motorists and motorcyclists are all responsible for making sure everyone arrives home safely.”
 
In Washington, motorcycle deaths are not steadily declining like overall traffic deaths. Motorcycles make up just 4 percent of the registered vehicles on our roads, but account for almost 15 percent of the traffic fatalities (2009-2011 average). Even worse, in 2012, motorcycle fatalities accounted for 19 percent (83 out of 438) of the total traffic fatalities in our state.
 
On a per-vehicle-mile basis, motorcyclists are more than 30 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of cars, and five times more likely to be injured. Speeding, running off the road, and riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are the main contributing factors in these crashes. Motorcyclists should always ride sober and within the posted speed limits, get the required training and endorsement, and wear DOT compliant helmets and protective gear.

Governor Inslee joins others governors in proclaiming May as Motorcycle Awareness Month

May 8, 2014

Motorcycle-Awareness-Month-procIn 2013, 73 motorcycle riders in our state were killed in collisions.

Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation making May our state’s Motorcycle Awareness Month is designed to:

  • promote caution and recognition of motorcycles on Washington roads and highways.
  • reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities associated for all motor vehicles.
  • encourage riders to participate in rider education programs.

As motorcycles are smaller and less visible than most other vehicles, they can be more difficult to see. Reducing distracted diving and eliminating impaired driving will help operators see motorcyclists and give them the space they need.

Your Washington Motorcycle Safety Program encourages all vehicle operators to follow the rules of the road including obeying speed limits, following distance, signaling intentions, and yielding the right-of-way.

With spring turning to summer, the number of motorcyclists on our roads will be increasing.

Washington riders are our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters.

A moment more of attention could help save a rider’s life.  That rider could be a family member or friend.

Look Twice – Save A Life.


State begins rolling out six-year driver licenses on February 10

February 6, 2014
WA DOL

WA DOL

Beginning February 10, all new driver license applicants will receive a license that’s valid for six years, as the Department of Licensing starts transitioning from a five-year to a six-year driver license.

New driver license applicants include individuals applying for their first license and those who are transferring their licenses from another state.

The per-year cost for a driver license will remain at $9 per year, but new applicants will pay for the additional year, which changes the fee from $45 to $54, not including the $35 application fee.

Adding a new motorcycle endorsement for up to six years will cost $2 per year.

Washingtonians who are obtaining their first Washington state ID cards will also be issued a card valid for six years beginning on February 10, at a cost of $54, or $9 per year.

Those renewing a current Washington driver licenses or ID cards will start transitioning to a six-year renewal period later this year.

In 2012, the Washington State Legislature authorized extending driver’s license terms from five to six years to improve customer service by reducing customer volumes and wait times in driver license offices.


New rest area signs help promote motorcycle safety

July 16, 2013

VIDEO

New sign at Maytown rest area

New sign going in at Maytown rest area on May 29th.

New signs aimed at making our roads safer for motorcycles now appear at two rest areas along the busy Interstate 5 corridor between Seattle and Portland.

The signs carry two motorcycle-related safety messages. The top half reads “Look Twice – Save a Life, Watch for Motorcycles.”

The message on the lower half of the sign is directed at motorcyclists, “Ride Safe, Ride Sober, Ride Endorsed.”

The state’s Department of Transportation installed the signs on May 29th at the Maytown and Scatter Creek rest areas south of Olympia.

The signs were paid for with federal motorcycle safety grant funds.

This project was created through a partnership between the state’s Department of Licensing, Traffic Safety Commission, State Patrol and DOT.

The signs are featured in a new video produced by the DOL.


DOL wait times plummet due to shift in testing locations, popularity of online and mail services

February 26, 2013
dol.wa.gov

dol.wa.gov

(Olympia) A new state program allowing the private sector to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing has produced more good news for visitors to DOL offices: the shortest wait times in nearly a decade.

The new program allows driver training schools and school district driver training programs across the state to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing for new driver license applicants.

Moving those testing services outside of DOL removed some of the most time-consuming transactions at the agency’s licensing service offices.

In recent months, the average statewide wait time at licensing service offices has remained steady at 10 minutes.

Driver licensing offices are currently maintaining the best wait times we’ve seen in eight years, despite an 11 percent increase in licensed drivers, and the closing and consolidation of several licensing offices over this time period.

Shorter wait times at those offices are also attributed to service innovations, including expanded online and mail-in options.

In 2012, nearly one-quarter of DOL’s 3.4 million driver transactions were done by people who didn’t step foot inside an office—by mail or Internet. In five years, that percentage has grown from 5 percent to 23 percent.

The drop-off in foot traffic at those offices provides employees with more time to inspect identity documents and for spending more time at the counter to better serve customers.  It also allows more time for community outreach

To conduct driver tests, driver training schools must be licensed with the state or be part of a state-certified public school driver training program. They have to apply for the authority to administer driver testing, and are subject to audits and record checks.

After passing the tests, customers go to a licensing office to obtain their license. Customers are still required to pay the driver license application fee to DOL. Driver training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.

The program is the final phase of implementing House Bill 1635, which gives the Department authority to contract with private driver training schools, school districts and motorcycle training schools to conduct some knowledge and skills tests. The bill was passed in an effort to reduce wait times in licensing service offices.

For a list of state-approved driver training schools, go to:http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/testing.html.


DOL makes managing driver and vehicle licenses easier

September 17, 2012
DOL image

DOL image

OLYMPIA—The Department of Licensing introduced a fast, easy way to manage your driver license and all of your vehicle, trailer and boat licenses in one secure online service called License Express.

This new service allows people to take care of all of the most common DOL license transactions like renewals and address changes. It also makes it easy to take care of many less common tasks like ordering a duplicate driver license or ID card, signing up for email renewal reminders, ordering copies of your driving record and report the sale of vehicles or boats.

It’s no secret our customers typically dread a trip to a local driver licensing office to wait for service,” Licensing Director Alan Haight said. “License Express is like having a DOL office at home.”

License Express ties together DOL’s most popular online services that, individually, have been used more than 2.5 million times by customers wanting to skip a trip to an office. DOL plans to keep improving this new service over time and adding more features to make it even more useful and save DOL customers more time.

License Express takes advantage of a highly secure login process through the state’s Secure Access Washington service to safeguard personal information.

DOL customers can learn more about this new service and sign up at the DOL website at dol.wa.gov.


New motorcycle endorsement riding test introduced

August 28, 2012
WA DOL image

WA DOL image

OLYMPIA—Washington state is leading the nation in the deployment of a new motorcycle endorsement skills test designed to better ensure riders are ready for hazards they will face on our highways.

The Department of Licensing’s Motorcycle Safety Program worked closely with the national Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to design a new test that meets new federal recommendations including key motorcycle skills.

“Our new skills test was created to address issues identified by analyzing motorcycle crashes and crash data,” said Licensing Director Alan Haight. “We’re now training and testing the skills needed to avoid the leading causes of crashes.”

One of these new riding elements tests a rider’s ability to handle curves. Through analysis of motorcycle crash data it was learned that the majority of riders were injured or killed in accidents that occurred in curves.

While working with the MSF to design the test, DOL volunteered to introduce it in our state first to evaluate it before it is put in place nationally. The new test was introduced on August 1.

Most states use tests and rider training curriculum created by the MSF and other states are expected to start using this new test in the spring of 2013.

To support the new test, DOL has created a five-part video series demonstrating each element of the new test. In addition, these videos explain how the elements directly relate to the on-street skills necessary to deal with real-world riding situations.

These videos, produced by DOL staff, can be viewed below.  They’re also available on the Department of Licensing’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/WALicensing


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