- Before buying any used car, always get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. The extra cost may save money in the long run if major problems are discovered.
- Ask to see the title of a used car. Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a flood-damaged state and if the title is stamped “salvage.”
- Use an online vehicle history tracking service like Carfax.com to get more information about a vehicle’s past.
- Check all gauges on the dashboard to make sure they are accurate, and to look for signs of water.
- Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work. Also, flex some wires under the dash to see if they bend or crack, since wet wires become brittle upon drying and can crack or fail at any time.
- Check the trunk, glove compartment, and beneath the seats and dash for signs of mud, rust or water damage.
- Look for discolored, faded or stained upholstery and carpeting. Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.
- Check for a well-defined line, or watermark, and for musty odors resulting from mildew.
- If the car’s history seems suspicious, ask the seller if the car has been damaged by floodwater. Get the answer in writing on the bill of sale.
OLYMPIA—Starting August 1, most motorcycle riders seeking an endorsement to legally ride in Washington state will begin taking motorcycle knowledge and skills tests at approved motorcycle training schools across the state.
“This will give our customers easier access to motorcycle testing in more areas in the state, and will free up some of our staff to serve other customers who must come into an office,” said DOL Director Alan Haight. “We already have the infrastructure in place with motorcycle training schools since we contract with them to conduct training courses, so we expect the transition to be very easy and seamless for our customers.”
The Department of Licensing will continue to offer these tests in the Colville, White Salmon, Ilwaco, Pullman, Coulee Dam, Clarkston and Walla Walla areas until motorcycle training schools expand services near these cities. DOL also will still test riders who have previously scheduled appointments at our offices.
After passing the tests, customers will go to a licensing office to obtain their motorcycle endorsement. The cost of a motorcycle endorsement will remain at $25; however motorcycle training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.
This move is the first phase of implementing House Bill 1635, which gives the department authority to contract with private drive 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 motorcycle training schools, go to: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motoschools.html.
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.
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
Need another reason to look twice for motorcycles? Robert Peffley’s family is sharing one from the heart; a story told in videos that are part of the state’s Look Twice, Save a Life motorcycle safety campaign.
In the summer of 2007, Peffley was riding his motorcycle near his Lynnwood home when a car turned in front of his bike, killing him.
Cathi Dykstra knows that the cause of her son’s death is a familiar one. So often, drivers involved in these type of serious injury or fatality crashes with motorcycles say they never saw the rider. Just days ago, on Saturday, June 25, a 41-year old Port Orchard man was killed after a car crossed the center line on State Route 3 just north of Belfair, striking him.
Dykstra hopes that Pef’s story will reach people in a way that statistics and collision reports might not. Emotionally.
“When (doctors) took me in to see him and there he was, and all the light was gone. But there he was. He was my baby boy…but not,” Dykstra shared on camera.
After her brother’s death, Kimberly Peffley changed her career path. She now manages a motorcycle safety school, and calls her new job part of her therapy.
“I feel like I wanted to protect anyone out there who wanted to ride because he loved it so much,” Peffley said.
The Look Twice, Save a Life campaign is sponsored by the state Department of Licensing, State Patrol and the Traffic Safety Commission.
The Department of Licensing and State Patrol today released a public service announcement and new poster focused on reducing drug or alcohol impairment of riders – one of the top causes of fatal motorcycle crashes. Excessive speed, another top cause of fatal crashes, was a major factor in the Tuesday morning crash.
The DOL video also speaks to the importance of riding safely and getting the necessary training and driver license endorsement to legally operate a motorcycle. To operate a motorcycle on a public road in Washington, riders must have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their driver license.
Licensing will release another public service announcement next week, focused on the campaign’s theme, “Look Twice. Save a Life.” encouraging motorists to be aware of motorcyclists. That message will also be brought to Washington drivers through messages on the sides of transit buses, freeway message board signs and billboards.
There are about 230,000 motorcycles registered in Washington, a 29 percent increase from 2003.