Saving time, money, and the environment

January 21, 2010

Updated February 3, 2009 to include video

By Brad Benfield

email renewal notice screen

Signing up is fast and easy on the DOL website

Vehicle owners in Washington now have the opportunity to save themselves time and help save money and the environment by signing up to receive their vehicle renewal notices via email. You can sign up for email renewal notices through the agency’s website at, when renewing tabs online, or at a neighborhood vehicle licensing office.

Email renewal notices provide all of the information on a traditional paper renewal notice. They also have a direct link to DOL’s online vehicle tab renewal system. Using the link to the online renewal system, you can have new tabs ordered and on their way within minutes of receiving the notice.

More and more people become accustomed to receiving bills and bank statements over the Internet and the agency is hoping people embrace email renewal notices, too. If just our customers who regularly use the Internet to renew their tabs sign up for email renewal, DOL would avoid printing 1 million notices over the next year. This would save:

  • 2,000 reams of paper and 2 million envelopes — or approximately 150 trees.
  • Approximately $500,000 in printing and mailing costs.

As with paper renewal notices, vehicle owners signing up for the new service will receive their email renewal notice about a month before their tabs expire. You also don’t have to worry about not getting a renewal notice if you change your email address and forget to tell us. We will try several times to send an email renewal notice, but if we can’t reach you that way we will send a traditional paper notice.

Good press for new online application

January 15, 2010

Courtesy KNDO.COM

By Brad Benfield

TV station KNDO/KNDU in the Tri-Cities reported on our website updates and the launch of our newest online service option. Watch the report here.

Corrected vehicle renewal notices sent to Shoreline

January 13, 2010
corrected notice envelope

Corrected renewal notices will be sent to Shoreline residents in envelopes like this.

By Brad Benfield

The Department of Licensing is mailing corrected vehicle renewal notices to approximately 800 vehicle owners in the City of Shoreline who recently received vehicle renewal notices with an incorrect fee total. A DOL system error resulted in notices that did not include a new City of Shoreline Local Transportation Benefit District fee collected for the first time on vehicles with tabs that expire in February.

These vehicle owners received a notice that did not include this new $20 local fee imposed by the City of Shoreline to help pay for local transportation projects. As a result, the fee total included on the notice is $20 lower than the actual amount due.

This issue only affects vehicles subject to this fee registered inside the City of Shoreline with a tab expiration date early in February. Shoreline residents with an expiration date later in the month will receive a renewal notice with a correct fee total.

The corrected renewal notices will include a special message on the front of the envelope and on the top of the notice itself alerting the vehicle owner to the error and corrected fee total.

Affected Shoreline vehicle owners who already have sent their renewal notice and payment in for processing before receiving their corrected renewal notice will have their original notice and check returned to them by King County Vehicle Licensing. Those who take their notice in to a local vehicle licensing office will have the error explained to them in person.

General information about the Shoreline Local Transportation Benefit District can be found on the Department of Licensing website—

Shoreline residents with general questions about the Shoreline Local Transportation Benefit District can call (206) 801-2302. Those with a question about an affected renewal notice sent by mail can contact King County Vehicle Licensing at (206) 296-4000.

A better way to get a copy of your driver record

January 7, 2010

by Brad Benfield

For the first time ever, drivers in our state can skip the trip to a driver licensing office and buy a copy of their driver record online at the Department of Licensing website instead.

Driving records (technically known as “abstracts of driving records,” or ADRs) show a history of violations, convictions, collisions, and departmental actions incurred by a driver over a period of time. More than 200,000 drivers in Washington purchase copies of their driving records every year. Most need one to provide to a current or prospective employer to maintain or establish eligibility to drive on the job.

 Getting a copy of your driving record online still costs $10, but the report itself has been completely redesigned to make it easier to read and understand. ADRs purchased online are provided in a non-editable Adobe Acrobat format and can be printed immediately on your home computer. They also can be purchased and printed at the many self service stations located within many driver licensing offices around the state.

 There are several versions that can be purchased depending on the reason an individual needs it. A driver can choose to get a complete record that details their entire driving history, or a more limited record specifically designed to meet state requirements related to use for insurance and employment purposes.

Traveling to the Olympics?

January 4, 2010

By Brad Benfield

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are just around the corner, and many Washington residents planning on driving to the Games are making our state’s Enhanced Driver Licenses and ID Cards their border crossing document of choice for traveling to the Games.

Demand for the enhanced licenses and IDs during the last week of 2009 jumped by 35 percent over the week before. If you are interested in getting an Enhanced Driver License or ID Card, make sure you review requirements for citizenship, identity, and residency before arriving at one of the 18 DOL driver licensing offices that issue them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection also has a comprehensive website to help you learn more about what to expect at the border and other border-crossing identification options.