DOL redesigns disabled parking tabs for specialty license plates

June 23, 2009

DP_tab_2by Brad Benfield, DOL Media Relations Manager

On July 1, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will start issuing a redesigned disabled parking privilege license plate tab for use on specialty license plates.

This special tab can be used to make most types of specialty license plates function like a regular disabled parking (DP) license plate. They can’t be used on standard issue plates, regular disabled parking plates, rideshare plates, ham radio operator plates or on license plates that do not require annual renewal.

DP_plate_decalIn the past, the DP tab was produced using the same color background and text as regular license expiration tabs. The new DP tabs will be produced with a bright yellow background with black text. This will make them much easier to distinguish from standard license tabs.

DOL began working on this change following reports that the tab used for this purpose looked too much like a regular tab and wasn’t being recognized as a legitimate DP parking credential by law enforcement, parking attendants or other motorists.

Individuals requesting the new yellow disabled parking tab also will receive… (Read more).

High demand for new Enhanced Driver Licenses creating long waits in the Kennewick driver licensing office

June 22, 2009

KENNEWICK—Officials at the Kennewick Licensing Service Office (LSO) urge customers to come prepared when applying for the new Enhanced Driver License (EDL) or Identification Card.  Staff in this office are sending many people back home for additional documentation when applying for these new cards.

The new enhanced licenses and ID cards meet new federal travel requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires travelers crossing the U.S. border at a land or sea border crossing station to have a U.S. Passport or other WHTI compliant document. WHTI went into effect June 1, 2009.

“Summertime is always the busiest time of the year with people moving and teens getting permits and new licenses, but the additional rush of people applying for EDLs has made the Kennewick office unusually busy.” said DOL District Manager Pamela Byrd. “We’re helping everyone as quickly as possible, but they can also help themselves by making sure they have all of the documents they need before they come in.”

To apply for an EDL/ID, people must bring proof of… (Read more)

Olympia driver and vehicle licensing office closing permanently

June 18, 2009

OLYMPIA—Thurston County residents are advised all operations at the Olympia Licensing Service Office (LSO), at 1125 Washington Street, SE, are closing permanently. This includes Driver Licensing, Vehicle Licensing, and the Suspension and Reinstatement service counters.

The last day of service at the Olympia LSO will be Thursday, July 2, 2009, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The office closure is part of Governor Chris Gregoire’s plan to reinvent government services. As part of this plan, DOL is consolidating many driver licensing offices around the state and offering more online and self-service options.

Customers can conduct… (Read more)

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New requirements for vehicles used in intrastate commerce

June 8, 2009

logging_truckby Brad Benfield, DOL Media Relations Manager

Individuals and businesses that register and operate commercial vehicles meeting the weight and load criteria below are now required to have a U.S. Department of Transportation number, commonly known as a “DOT number,” issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The DOT number and Federal Employer Identification Number will now be required when registering a commercial vehicle. Once this information has been provided for a particular vehicle, it will not have to be provided again until the ownership of the vehicle changes.

DOT numbers have long been required for commercial haulers that cross state lines. They are used to track the safety records of commercial vehicles and the individuals or businesses that operate them. Operators who are found to have poor safety records can be forced to improve or risk not being able to register their vehicles in our state.

Applying for a DOT number is free and can be done by mail or online. The Washington State Patrol has an excellent flyer (in PDF format) called New Intrastate DOT Number Requirements for Commercial Motor Vehicles. It describes (with words and pictures) this new requirement and how it might affect you as an operator of commercial and farm vehicles within Washington State. It also has instructions on how to apply for a DOT number.

The Department of Licensing’s website also has step-by-step instructions for determining if you need to apply for one of these numbers and how to do it.

Vehicles that must have a DOT number by June 30, 2009:

  • Commercial motor vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Combinations of commercial motor vehicles including a towed unit with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds and having a total GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Commercial motor vehicles of any size used in the transportation of placarded hazardous materials.
  • Commercial motor vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • Private school buses of any weight or size.

Farm vehicles that meet the requirements above and are used to transport the farmer’s own orchard, farm, or dairy products, livestock, or plant or animal waste within Washington State are required to have an intrastate DOT number, but they are exempt from safety audits and compliance reviews.

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Save a stamp

June 5, 2009


by Brad Benfield, DOL Media Relations Manager

As the price of stamps keeps going up, DOL’s hardworking Graphic Communications Unit came up with a clever way to remind customers that they can avoid the price of a stamp by going online to complete their license renewal transaction.

DOL received permission from the United States Postal Service to place the text “Save a stamp. Renew online at” in the stamp area on the pre-printed envelopes we insert in renewal notices.

Just about all vehicle, boat and business license renewals can be processed quickly and easily online. And many driver license renewals can be done online, too.

Please visit our website for more information about  renewing your licenses online. We will begin testing these new envelopes soon.

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