DOL announcing plan to help local jurisdictions with traffic offense refunds

July 23, 2010

Main informational page about traffic ticket refunds

DOL is contacting local governments today to detail a reimbursement process for refunds to drivers who paid fines for cell phone and texting violations and some other traffic offenses.

Out of about three million traffic tickets written since 2007, the agency estimates just under 10,000 may be eligible for a refund.

 The MTO is a traffic law rulebook that cities and counties can adopt to easily be consistent with state traffic laws. DOL is responsible for updating the MTO rules as new laws emerge.

On June 30, DOL discovered that municipal court judges in several jurisdictions were dismissing cell phone and texting tickets because the MTO had not been updated to reflect these violations. Further study revealed the MTO had not been updated since 2004 and several other new laws passed since then also were not included.

This issue does not affect citations issued by the Washington State Patrol, other state police agencies and a number of city and county governments. It also does not affect any cell phone-related tickets issued on or after July 1, 2010, or those for any other affected laws after July 19, 2010, as the entire rulebook is now updated.

Individuals who were issued a citation and paid a fine should go to the court in the jurisdiction which issued the citation to request reimbursement. DOL will then reimburse these local courts for the amount of the fine, which is typically $124.

The agency estimates that reimbursements could total up to $1.2 million statewide for tickets written during the past three years. The funds will come from within the agency’s budget by deferring planned equipment replacements, printing and mailing savings associated with new email renewal notices, and some savings accumulated by continuing to not fill vacant staff positions.

The following jurisdictions already have been identified as not being affected by the MTO issue: Washington State Patrol and other state police agencies (regardless where issued), Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Lynnwood, Prosser, Yakima, Yakima County, Snohomish County, Thurston County, Mason County, Skagit County, Kittitas County and Spokane Municipal prior to 1/1/2009.

Update — traffic ticket refund information

July 15, 2010

We’ve consolidated information on the Model Traffic Ordinance issue and potential traffic citation refunds onto one page. Click here for more information.

July is Women’s Motorcycle Month

July 14, 2010

By Tony Sermonti

Riding is for everyone.

Women taking to the streets on motorcycles is a growing trend, and the month of July commemorates that women continue to break stereotypes and knock down barriers.

About one-third of riders that graduate from a motorcycle training course are women, even though they only represent about ten percent of the total riding population, about 4.5 million nationwide.

In Washington, a valid motorcycle endorsement is required to operate on public roadways. You can get an endorsement through an approved rider training course, or by taking a written and riding test. Here’s more information on getting your motorcycle endorsement.

State budget cuts to close DOL offices temporarily

July 7, 2010

by Christine Anthony

State budget cuts will close some DOL offices on Monday, July 12, and some on Tuesday, July 13, as employees take the first of required temporary layoff days that must be taken over the next year. 

Licensing offices that are normally open Monday through Friday will be closed on July 12, and offices that are normally open Tuesday through Saturday will be closed on July 13.  Headquarter operations, including the customer service center, will be closed July 12. The temporary layoff days don’t affect county auditor or private vehicle licensing offices.

During office closures, DOL’s online services will still be available at