Boat owners: It’s time to buy new registration decals

May 28, 2010

vessel email renewal reminderSummer boating is right around the corner, and so is the deadline for renewing boat and watercraft registration decals. In Washington state, all boat registrations expire on June 30.

Owners of boats and watercraft received a postcard in April informing them DOL won’t mail paper renewal reminders for boats and other watercraft anymore because the funding used to print and mail them was eliminated. The postcard invited these owners to sign up online at to receive renewal reminders by email.

DOL will send out boat and watercraft email renewal reminders to those who signed up for them on June 9. To receive one of these reminders, boat owners have to sign up at the DOL website no later than June 8. Owners who sign up after this date will not receive a renewal reminder for their boat until next year. 

Boat registrations can be renewed online and in person at a neighborhood vehicle licensing office. Those who choose to renew in 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.

Lynnwood DOL office featured in international video project

May 21, 2010

Video aims to help Marshallese immigrants transition to life in U.S.

by Mark Horner

In the “Did you know?” department, it turns out that the Puget Sound area is one of the most popular U.S. destinations for people immigrating from the Marshall Islands. The transition to life in a new country can seem a bit confusing.  That’s why a video now in production hopes to put essential information into the hands of Marshallese immigrants before they leave the islands.

The working title for the video is Marshallese Immigrants: An Orientation Program. The project is a joint-effort between the U.S. Department of Interior and the Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Washington, D.C.

The video production crew recently shot some footage at the DOL’s Lynnwood Licensing Service Office. After all, it’s important to know what documents are needed when applying for a driver license or identification card.

According to an information sheet provided by the video project’s leader, Tina Stege:

“With sizable and active Marshallese communities living in Everett, Lynnwood and Federal Way, the Seattle area provides the perfect backdrop for the video.”  -Tina Stege, Project Leader

No word yet on when the project will be completed.  But Stege said that, once it’s finished, the video will be published on YouTube.

May is motorcycle safety month

May 11, 2010

motorcycle safety transit ad

By Tony Sermonti

A 22-year-old man was killed last week in King County after speeding, reckless driving and doing wheelies on his motorcycle. The man was ejected from his bike and died instantly after hitting a tree.

That collision underscores why May is motorcycle safety awareness month. Last year, 62 motorcycle riders lost their lives on Washington roads, and DOL is working with other traffic safety agencies to reduce that number to zero by 2030. DOL unveiled a motorcycle safety awareness campaign last week using transit ads, billboards and postcards to communicate with millions of drivers and about 27,000 unendorsed motorcycle owners.

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.

Motorcyclists have their own responsibilities – they share the same rules and responsibilities of the road. 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.

For more information about motorcycle safety training and motorcycle endorsements, go to the agency website at, or call the Washington Motorcycle Safety Program at 800-962-9010. The safety awareness campaign is funded with federal traffic safety grant funding through a partnership with the state Traffic Safety Commission.

Car in texting fatal crash on display at state capitol

May 5, 2010

by Mark Horner

“I’m getting chills as I read this.”

Those words this morning from one passerby as she paused to look at a mangled car and read the story on a nearby poster.

The car was driven by 19-year-old Heather Lerch earlier this year.  Her parents say Heather was texting when the vehicle left the road and struck a guardrail, killing the young woman instantly.  The February 23rd crash unfolded shortly before 10:30pm on Littlerock Road in Thurston County.

The vehicle is one of numerous displays on the plaza of the Capitol Campus in Olympia today where Public Service Recognition Week is being recognized.

The Department of Licensing recently produced two videos about Heather’s story.  A new state law concerning cell phones takes effect June 10.  The law makes texting while driving a primary offense.  It also makes using a hand-held cell for phone calls while driving a primary offense.

Friday’s distracted driving news conference

May 3, 2010

Licensing director Liz Luce speaks to reporters about using cell phones while driving on Friday, April 30 in Parkland, Wash.

Go to for more information on the dangers of distracted driving.