State gets a new extension for new federal ID requirements

October 18, 2017

(OLYMPIA) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced all Washington state driver licenses and ID cards can be used for all federal purposes, including commercial air travel, under a REAL ID Act compliance extension that runs through October 10, 2018.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018, under Legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year. DHS has said states that have been determined to be compliant will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020 under current federal regulations.

“This extension gives Washington residents about three more years to decide if they will need a new type of identification. Many already have acceptable federal identification,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said.

When the REAL ID law is enforced in October 2020, no one will be required to get an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card. A variety of identification documents are acceptable for federal purposes under REAL ID, including U.S. passports and passport cards, military or military dependent ID cards, valid foreign passports or legal permanent resident cards and state-issued enhanced driver licenses or enhanced ID cards.


Life Hack: Renew your license or ID card online at dol.wa.gov

September 14, 2017

It’s that time again…you get a notice in the mail and now all you have to do is decide when you have time to renew your driver license. If the mere thought of that task feels a little traumatizing, you’re not alone. But we have good news, times have changed and now by visiting DOL.WA.GOV  you can securely renew your license or ID card ONLINE, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer! That means no line, no sacrificed lunch hour and no need to touch up your roots for a new photo.

It’s true that not everyone’s eligible to use our online services every time they need to renew. If you’re a Washington State resident you can only renew online every other time your license or ID expires. But did you know that in the past two years over 400,000 eligible people statewide waited IN-line to renew instead of going ONline? That’s a pretty significant number and it averages out to about 1,700 people per month.  If all of those people had renewed online, it would have made the in-office experience faster and more pleasant for the lady who was there for an eye exam, or the guy who just moved from California. So it’s an option worth checking into if your expiration date is coming up.

Here are the details:

Time to Renew! You have 3 options:

  1. License eXpress
  2. Online (without a License eXpress account)
  3. At a driver licensing office. Be prepared to wait in line. See Tips for visiting an office: Driver licensing offices.

 

Who can’t renew online?

  • You’ll need to visit an office if you:

◦Are under 24 or over 70 years old

◦Need to pass the vision screening

◦Need a new photo taken

 

Not you? Then congratulations, you’re eligible to renew online. You’ll need:

  • A device that allows you to access the internet
  • Your driver license or ID card number
  • Your Social Security number – last 4 digits
  • Visa, MasterCard, or American Express
  • Email address and/or printer

 

Hmmm…What else?….

Will my card have a new photo?

We use the last photo we took. If you want a new photo, you’ll need to visit a driver licensing office.

When will I get my new card?

You should receive it in 2-4 weeks. If you don’t get it within 30 days, please contact us at CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov.

Do I have to download an app?

No.

More questions?

Click here.

Help us spread the word to friends, coworkers, family and everyone else on social media. Don’t be shy, if you have a friend or family member who is new to online services or their electronic device, offer to assist them by sharing  this video and explaining the process.


Permanent registration available for some intermittent-use trailers

September 13, 2017

Have an infrequently used personal trailer weighing 2,000 pounds or less?

Then you might be interested to know about new Washington state law that took effect this year.

That law opened the door for permanent registration options for some vehicles with “intermittent-use” trailer plates.

FAST FACTS

Vehicles with intermittent-use trailer plates:

  • May be used for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades and occasional pleasure use.
  • May be used for occasional pleasure use.
  • Cannot be held for rent to the public.
  • Cannot be used for commercial or business purposes.
  • Vehicles with these plates must have a scale weight of two thousand pounds or less.
  • You must be a Washington state resident in order to receive “intermittent use” trailer plates.
  • The plates can only be displayed on the vehicle they were purchased for.
  • Must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle.

The initial cost for the standard trailer plate is $20.75

Restored plates have an initial cost of $43.75

Customers pay a onetime registration fee of $187.50 (plus other applicable fees).

The vehicle must also be in good working order.

To learn more about vehicle requirements, applications, and other information, visit the Department of Licensing’s website at dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/licenseplates.html.


ADDITIONAL READING

Washington State Laws:

RCW 46.16A.428 Intermittent-use trailers—Permanent registration—Penalty—License plates—Definition—Rules

RCW 46.18.220 Collector vehicle license plates


Buyer beware as water-damaged vehicles flood the market

September 12, 2017

Heavy rain and flooding caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has resulted in damage to hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks in the southern region of the United States.

Washington residents should exercise caution when shopping for used vehicles in coming months. Water-damaged vehicles are expected to be cycled back onto the national market at auto auctions and used car dealerships.

Water damage is not always obvious at first glance and significant mechanical, safety and health risks can go undetected.

Knowing how to identify signs of a flood damaged vehicle can help you avoid serious safety hazards and monetary loss down the line.

Floodwater causes rust and damages major mechanical parts and safety systems such as the engine, transmission, air bags and antilock brakes. Electrical systems are especially susceptible to water damage, because onboard computers are often located in low points of the vehicle.

How to avoid purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle:

  • Have a pre-purchase inspection completed by a trusted mechanic.
  • Look at the title to check date and location of transfer, if the car came from a flood impacted area and if the title is stamped “salvage.” Ask the seller if the car has been damaged by floodwater and request proof in writing on the bill of sale.
  • Use an online vehicle history tracking service to investigate the vehicle’s past. Examples: NICB, AutoCheck, Carfax
  • Check gauges on the dashboard for accuracy and visible signs of water damage.
  • Test lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner multiple times. Flex the wires under the dash to see if they bend or crack – wet wires will become brittle as they dry and can fail without warning.
  • Check trunk, glove compartment and under seats for signs of mud, rust or water damage.
  • Look for upholstery and carpeting that is discolored, fits too loosely or does not match the original interior.
  • Check for a well-defined water line and musty odors resulting from mildew.

For additional information on flood-damaged vehicles and how to spot them, visit this link.


Drivers need to put down their phones and drive or risk being fined under new law

July 20, 2017

New Distracted Driving Law

Effective July 23, , Washington drivers will not be permitted to hold or operate hand-held electronic devices while they are driving. Use of devices such as cell phones, tablets, video-games and laptops to text, access information, take pictures and talk, even while stopped in traffic, is prohibited under the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act. “Hands-free” devices such as mounted dashboard screens and Bluetooth can be used legally, but only with a single touch to start use.

*Exemptions include drivers using a personal electronic device to contact emergency services; certain transit employees and commercial drivers (within the scope of their employment) and drivers operating authorized emergency vehicles.

In the U.S., distracted driving caused 3,477 traffic deaths in 2015, a 9 percent increase from the year before, and “a deadly epidemic,” according to the National Safety Council. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), 71 percent of distracted drivers are engaging in the most dangerous distraction, using their cell phones behind the wheel. The new law in Washington is part of Target Zero, a statewide initiative to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Washington’s roadways to zero by the year 2030.

Currently, texting or holding a cellphone to the ear while driving carries a fine of $124 in Washington State. Starting July 23, using a hand-held device while driving will be considered a primary offense and law enforcement will be issuing fines $136-$234 to violators. In addition, a citation will be added to your driving record and reported to insurance providers. You can also receive a $99 ticket for other types of distractions such as grooming, smoking, eating, or reading if the activity interferes with safe driving, and you are pulled over for another traffic offense.

The WTSC recommends the following tips for complying with the new law:

  1. Turn off your phone and put it in the glove box
  2. If you’re a passenger, hold the driver’s phone
  3. Don’t text or call a friend or loved one if you know they are driving
  4. If using GPS on your phone, plug in the address before you start the car and use a mounted phone holder
  5. Talk to family members (especially teen drivers) about the risks of cell phone use. Model responsible behavior by not using your phone while in the car

For more information about the new law visit http://www.wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving.


Go online and you may be able to skip waiting in line at DOL

July 11, 2017

Since 2015, more than 400,000 customers waited in line unnecessarily at Washington State driver licensing offices for transactions they could have completed from the comfort of home by visiting dol.wa.gov.

If all 400,000 had gone online, the result would have been an average of 13,000 fewer people in line per month. Less in-office traffic means downsized wait times so that customers can quickly get back to the responsibilities and activities in their lives that matter.

Our online services don’t eliminate the need for all in-office transactions, however many common licensing needs such as changing an address or renewing a license can be easily completed on your phone or computer. The information provided at dol.wa.gov can help also you avoid long wait times and unnecessary trips.

Plan on visiting us soon? Review the following reminders for a more efficient experience:

 

  1. Skip a trip, renew online

Did you know that you only need to update your driver license photo every other renewal cycle? That’s once every twelve years! If you don’t need a new photo, just go to dol.wa.gov to see if you can renew and skip the line! You’ll conveniently receive a new license within days and avoid having to come up with a clever hashtag to accompany that obligatory “never ending line at the DOL” tweet. Unsure about whether the services you need are offered online or if you are eligible to renew online? Check out DOL’s online services page.

  1. Know before you go

Arriving at the front of the line just to discover the piece of identification necessary to complete your transaction is sitting on the kitchen counter at home is everyone’s least favorite way to wrap up lunch hour. Visit dol.wa.gov to find out which documents and identification you’ll need to bring in so that our staff can take care of your licensing needs. Also keep in mind that we are not able to accept photocopies of documents.

  1. Visit during the middle of the week

If you must visit an office in person, try to head in before noon — preferably during the middle of the week.

  1. Beware the lunch hour line

This may seem like a given, but please let us reiterate: Do not visit a licensing office between noon and one pm! We guarantee that on any given afternoon several other people had the exact same idea and staffing may be more limited due to staff rotating off the counter to take their lunch break.

 

  1. Check the calendar for holidays

We know your ideal Christmas Eve would be spent refreshing your newsfeed while waiting for your number to be called, but please avoid visiting us on holidays, as our offices are usually closed. When in doubt, go online to check the hours of operation of the office you plan to visit and remember to anticipate a spike in wait times in the days prior to and following a long weekend.


State gets extension for new federal ID requirements

June 16, 2017

(OLYMPIA) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a REAL ID Act compliance extension to Washington state this week based on legislation signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee last month allowing the state to comply with the remaining provisions of the federal act.

While compliance extensions are issued for up to one year at a time, Homeland Security has indicated to Washington and other states that as they make progress toward complying, they will be renewed through October of 2020. This allows all Washington-issued driver licenses and ID cards to be used for all federal purposes, including commercial air travel, until then. The Department of Licensing is working to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by mid-2018.

“A variety of identification documents are acceptable for federal purposes under REAL ID, including U.S. passports and passport cards, military or military dependent ID cards, valid foreign passports or legal permanent resident cards and state-issued enhanced driver licenses or enhanced ID cards,” said Pat Kohler, the Department of Licensing director.

Kohler says the agency will fully implement the legislation next year, but that all licenses and ID cards are expected to be valid for federal purposes through October of 2020.

“The extension gives our residents about three more years to decide if they will need a new type of identification. Many already have acceptable federal identification,” Kohler said.