State updating commercial driver skills test

August 31, 2011

truck and busThe Department of Licensing is updating the driving test taken by about 10,000 people each year seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) in Washington.

Starting on September 1, the test will require drivers to complete a third backing-up exercise. Along with this, the test’s scoring system is being updated to expand a tester’s ability to evaluate the driver’s performance during the road test. New testing procedures that will better measure a commercial driver’s ability to perform a commercial vehicle inspection will be adopted in 2012.

These changes, developed by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and endorsed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will bring Washington in line with national CDL knowledge and skills testing standards. The new testing procedures have been added to DOL’s Commercial Driver Guide and more information about the changes also is posted on the Department of Licensing website.

New web service added to help drivers get back on the road legally

August 22, 2011


If your driver license is suspended due to unpaid traffic tickets, a DUI or a number of other things, it can be a challenge to navigate the court system to get it back. For the nearly 300,000 Washingtonians with a suspended license, things are about to get a little easier.

We’ve rolled out a new web-based service that shows people what they need to do and who they need to contact to get their license back. Users can securely enter their personal information and the system will provide a printable list of the court issues and state requirements needing to be resolved. It also provides contact information for each item. It is available at the DOL website. 


FAST FACT: DOL also regulates more than 30 professions

August 15, 2011
courtesy: Seattle Times/ NW Jobs
Tatoo artist Hanz Zarate of Pierced Hearts Tattoo Parlor in Seattle. (Seattle Times photo by Michelle Archer)

While most everyone knows we issue driver licenses, ID cards and vehicle tabs, an often overlooked area of the Department of Licensing’s responsibilities is business and professional licensing.  We regulate 34 professions that represent more than 264,000 active licensees. 

A recent  Seattle Times article provides a great overview of our programs.

Great news for summer driver licensing office customers

August 5, 2011

Summer is traditionally a very busy time in driver licensing offices, but customers across the state are enjoying average wait times of less than 30 minutes this season. Statewide average wait times are down sharply compared to last year and have been below 30 minutes for the past four months.Statewide average wait time chart

The average amount of time customers spent waiting for service in a driver licensing office in July was 28 minutes. This is a significantly lower than the average of 42 minutes in July last year.

While average wait times are way down across the state, some offices still have longer wait times than others. A great way to save time is to visit DOL’s Internet website and check the current wait time of the office you are planning to visit before you go. Also, keep in mind that many of DOL’s most common transactions, like driver license renewal and requesting a copy of your driving record, are offered online at the DOL website.

It’s also important to keep in mind that wait times can vary greatly depending on the day of the week and time of day customers choose to visit a driver licensing office. Watch the video below for tips on how to make your next visit a quick one.

Gov. Gregoire appoints Alan Haight to lead Department of Licensing

August 1, 2011
DOL Director Alan Haight

DOL Director Alan Haight

August 1, 2011

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she has appointed Alan Haight as director of the Department of Licensing. Since 2008, Haight has been deputy director of the agency and most recently served as acting director, replacing Liz Luce – who announced her retirement in May.

“Alan has spent nearly a decade at the Department of Licensing and understands this agency inside and out,” Gregoire said. “I’m impressed with his focus on customer service and his ability to develop strategies that improve customer satisfaction while reducing costs. I welcome Alan to my cabinet, and trust Washingtonians statewide will be pleased with Alan’s leadership and skill.”

Haight joined the Department of Licensing in 2003, and led the agency’s consolidation and management of its telephone customer service center activities. His leadership in that role earned him the Governor’s Award for Internal Process Management. In 2005, Haight was appointed as DOL’s assistant director of the finance and administration division where he played a critical role in improving performance management and earned the Governor’s Award for Leadership. Haight was appointed deputy director of DOL in 2008 – and has been successful in reducing the agency’s budget by $4 million without significant customer disruption or job loss within the agency.

“The Department of Licensing, like all of state government, is faced with very difficult challenges,” Haight said. “Delivering critical services to our customers with higher quality and at a lower cost is a constant challenge that we should be mindful of in both good and bad economic times. I welcome the challenge this position poses and the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Washington state.”

Prior to joining DOL, Haight served as marketing director for Primus Knowledge Solutions in Seattle. He also spent 28 years at U.S. Bancorp, where he was senior vice president.