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.


Make sure your tattoo artist has a license to ink

May 31, 2013
DOL image

DOL image

OLYMPIA — Before getting the tattoo you’ve always dreamed about, the Department of Licensing recommends you choose a tattoo artist and shop carefully so you don’t leave with more than just a work of body art.

“Getting a tattoo can be a great experience if the tattoo artist is properly licensed and following all of the safety and sanitation rules,” said Teresa Berntsen, Deputy Director of the Department of Licensing.

State law requires all tattoo shops and artists to be licensed.  Tattoo shops must follow very strict safety and sanitation rules to protect customers from the spread of disease and infection, and are subject to inspection every two years, or upon receipt of a consumer complaint. Tattoo artists must be at least 18 years old, and have a current blood borne pathogens certificate.

It’s important to remember tattooing presents a potential for infections and allergic reactions. Berntsen recommends customers take a few common sense precautions:

  • Look at shop owner and tattoo artist licenses to make sure they are current.
  • Check the shop for overall cleanliness.  Make sure that work surfaces, equipment, and towels are clean.
  • Feel free to question the shop owner and tattoo artist about their sanitation and safety procedures.
  • Make sure that items such as needles, stencils, pigments, dyes, razors and products used to control blood flow are only used once and disposed of properly. Some equipment may be re-used if the parlor follows proper sanitizing and sterilizing procedures.
  • Make sure the artist properly covers equipment that might come in contact with the customer, including tattoo machines and electrical cords.
  • Be sure the artist washes their hands and wears gloves throughout the tattoo application.
  • Do not get a tattoo in someone’s kitchen or living room. The shop should have an outside entrance separate from any rooms used for sleeping or residential purposes.
  • Do your homework when choosing your artist.  Every artist has their own style so be sure to choose the artist who will give you the tattoo you want.

If you have concerns about whether or not a tattoo shop or artist is licensed, go to the department’s website at http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/checkstatus.html.  Consumers can file a complaint by calling (360) 664-6660.

The Department of Licensing has produced a new video titled, Tattoo Safety. It appears below.




It’s time to renew: 2013 boat decals expire June 30

May 23, 2013

Everett Marina with Mt. Baker

DOL image

OLYMPIA—Boating season is here, and the deadline for renewing boat and watercraft registration decals is right around the corner. All Washington state boat registrations expire on June 30.

Don’t let an expired registration spoil your day; remember to renew before you get out on the water.

 Boat registrations can be renewed online at the DOL website or in person at a neighborhood vehicle licensing office. Those who choose to renew at an office should make sure to note the registration number on the bow of the boat or watercraft and take that information to the office. 

 Due to budget cuts, DOL discontinued paper renewal notices for boats in 2010 and instead offered boat owners the opportunity to sign up to receive email renewal reminders. It’s too late to sign up for an email renewal reminder for this year, but boat owners can sign up online at dol.wa.gov to receive renewal reminders by email in the future.

Skip a Trip — Go Online. The Department of Licensing has a wide variety of consumer services available online. Please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.


Ride safely to the prom in a licensed limo

April 11, 2013
Limo poster

Don’t be taken for a ride by an unlicensed limo company.

Prom season is upon us, and many high school students will be trying to make their special night even more fun by hiring a limo.  The Department of Licensing reminds parents and students to check to see if the limo they hire is licensed by the state. 

 
If you’re planning to make your event extra special by using one of Washington’s quality limo services, we suggest you do your homework,” Department of Licensing Director Teresa Berntsen said. “Don’t be taken for a ride by an unlicensed limousine company.  Always check references and make sure the company is licensed before you hire them.”
 
Limousine operators in Washington are required to be licensed, carry sufficient liability insurance, and undergo annual safety inspections by the Washington State Patrol or City of Seattle. Chauffeurs must be at least 21 years of age, hold a valid driver license, complete a chauffeur training course and pass a State Patrol background check.
 
Berntsen said a website, Craigslist ad, or a simple advertisement in the phone book or newspaper does not guarantee the operator is licensed. Unlicensed limousine operators may not meet state insurance or safety requirements and it can be difficult to hold them accountable if problems arise.
 
To find out if the limousine service you plan to use is licensed by the state, visit the Department of Licensing website at www.dol.wa.gov/business/limousine/. Scroll down to the area for consumers, click on “Look up a business or professional license” and then “Search business license.”  If you do not see the business listed as a limousine company, please call 360-705-6744. They can help you verify that the limousine company is properly licensed.
 
DOL Video:  Renting a Limo / Ride in Style, Ride Safely

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.


New app helps suspended drivers get their license reinstated

February 7, 2013

The process of getting a suspended license reinstated can seem daunting.  For many, it’s a labyrinth of trying to figure-out which courts and/or agencies must be contacted in order to clear-up unresolved cases.

But now, the Department of Licensing is offering a fast and simple solution people can use to piece all of that information together.

It’s a simple app on the DOL’s website, dol.wa.gov.

“We want to make it as quick and easy as possible for them to get their license back,” said DOL spokesperson Brad Benfield.

After the user enters some basic information, the online app provides a specific list of what that person must do to get his or her license reinstated.

“What we’re finding is that people are able to go online, use the reinstatements program, and systematically work their way through all of the issues that they need to work through to get their license back.   And as they continue to check in on it, those things that they’ve taken care of come off the list until the day when they find out that they’re actually eligible for reinstatement,” Benfield said.

That’s a huge departure from the common scenarios that’ve played-out for years:  people using their valuable time to go to a DOL office or calling the agency as they attempt to figure-out how to get their license reinstated.

Now, all of that information is at a person’s fingertips.  You might say the app puts you at the front of the line.

And it’s free.

Believe it or not, there are companies who charge to provide you with this same information.

Benfield also has this heads-up for people who’ve only  recently learned that their license will be suspended.

“Until that license is actually suspended, they’re not going to be able to use this system because it provides a snapshot of what’s going on with their record on any given day.  If their license hasn’t been suspended yet, (the app’s) not yet going to reflect that. “

The DOL recently produced a video about the app and posted it to its YouTube channel.

YouTube video:  http://youtu.be/LidYMIP6v0c

New license plates benefit 4-H, honor state flower

January 3, 2013

4h-and-stflwrNew specialty license plates featuring the 4-H clover and Washington state flower, the rhododendron, are now available.

Revenue generated from the sale of specialty plates not only goes to the state, but also goes to organizations associated with each plate.

For example, money collected from the sale of the 4-H plate goes toward activities to support the 90,000 Washington boys and girls that participate in 4-H.

And revenue from the state-flower plate generates revenue for garden associations statewide.

Specialty plates cost $40 more than standard plates; renewal costs $30.

Visit the DOL’s website at the links below to learn how to purchase each specialty plate.

4-H Plates

State Flower plates


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