May 24, 2012
OLYMPIA—As temperatures rise across our state this season, the Department of Licensing (DOL) would like to remind drivers to watch out for an increasing number of motorcycles on our streets and highways.Riders can be difficult to see on busy roads because of their smaller size and profile. Motorists should take an extra second to be aware of what’s around them. An extra look could save a life.
DOL will continue the agency’s “Look Twice, Save a Life” public information campaign this summer to work on increasing motorist awareness of motorcycles.
Since 2008, the number of other drivers failing to yield the right of way to motorcyclists has dropped by approximately 20 percent, according to collision data compiled by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Gov. Chris Gregoire issued a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month and called on motorcyclists and drivers alike to work on improving motorcycle safety this year.
The top three rider-causes of motorcycle crashes are alcohol or drug impairment, improper lane position and speeding. To legally operate a motorcycle on Washington roads, riders must have a driver license endorsement—or they could see their bike impounded even after a simple traffic stop.
DOL Director Alan Haight encourages all riders to take advantage of our state’s excellent network of motorcycle training schools.
“There are motorcycle safety classes out there for riders of all abilities,” Haight said. “These classes are critical for beginners, but also can help more experienced riders shake the rust off after a long winter and introduce new skills to increase riders’ safety and fun.”
Motorcycle training and endorsement info on the web: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motorcycles.html
August 31, 2011
The Department of Licensing is updating the driving test taken by about 10,000 people each year seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) in Washington.
Starting on September 1, the test will require drivers to complete a third backing-up exercise. Along with this, the test’s scoring system is being updated to expand a tester’s ability to evaluate the driver’s performance during the road test. New testing procedures that will better measure a commercial driver’s ability to perform a commercial vehicle inspection will be adopted in 2012.
These changes, developed by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and endorsed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will bring Washington in line with national CDL knowledge and skills testing standards. The new testing procedures have been added to DOL’s Commercial Driver Guide and more information about the changes also is posted on the Department of Licensing website.
August 22, 2011
If your driver license is suspended due to unpaid traffic tickets, a DUI or a number of other things, it can be a challenge to navigate the court system to get it back. For the nearly 300,000 Washingtonians with a suspended license, things are about to get a little easier.
We’ve rolled out a new web-based service that shows people what they need to do and who they need to contact to get their license back. Users can securely enter their personal information and the system will provide a printable list of the court issues and state requirements needing to be resolved. It also provides contact information for each item. It is available at the DOL website.
July 12, 2011
by Mark Horner
When the Department of Licensing produced a video about a 19-year-old Thurston County woman killed in a distracted driving crash, many of you took notice. Now, the nation’s top transportation official has noticed, too.
This week, US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood added our video about Heather Lerch to the US DOT’s Faces of Distraction website. Lerch died instantly after her car left the road on February 23, 2010.
Only a few weeks after their daughter’s death, Dan and Wendy Lerch shared their story with us on-camera, hoping to convince others not to text and drive. They said that they have no doubt that Heather had been texting behind the wheel when she crashed.
On his blog this week, LaHood writes:
“Recording this video was obviously very painful for Dan and Wendy, and I can’t thank them enough. I hope that everyone who hears their story will remember to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their focus on driving.”
Since the DOL first published the video on its YouTube channel in April of 2010, Heather’s mangled car has been on display at many public places, to include several high schools.
The DOL produced two versions of Heather’s story; a 30-second Public Service Announcement, and a longer video that runs about five-and-a-half minutes. The US DOT is showcasing the longer video.
Last year, the DOL and State Patrol also featured Heather’s story in their efforts to inform the public about a new state law that makes the illegal use of a cell phone while driving a primary offense.