Driver licensing offices seeing shortened wait times

October 12, 2011

Waits at driver licensing offices are getting shorter, and hundreds of thousands of people a year are eliminating the wait altogether with a few mouse clicks on the DOL website.

After 21 office closures or modifications and other additional budget cuts, DOL continues to add new services to its website. The latest, rolled out in September, allows people who have moved to change their address online. It’s required by law that the address is kept up to date.

Drivers and ID card holders can go to dol.wa.gov to change their address, replace a lost or stolen card and get a copy of their driving record. Most people can also renew their driver license or ID card online every other time it is due for renewal.

“We are building a system in very tight budget times that allows many people to only have to visit one of our offices every ten years,” DOL Director Alan Haight said. “This is allowing our existing staff to keep up with the in-office demands of about 5.2 million drivers, a number that is increasing every day.”

Haight says that the agency is on track to serve more than 500,000 transactions over the web in 2011, a dramatic increase from 120,000 three years ago. He says the web will help the agency simply keep up with the growing state population.

The agency typically sees the highest customer volumes and office wait times during the summer months. This year, though, office wait times were significantly lower, averaging less than 30 minutes statewide.

“These are tough economic times for families and government alike, but we can’t let cuts to our budget stop us from providing customers with faster, more convenient service options,” Haight said. “These types of services are more important than ever.”


Holiday and temporary layoff day mean office closures

December 20, 2010

Because of state budget reductions, DOL offices will be closed on Monday, Dec. 27, as employees take a required temporary layoff day. Because this temporary layoff day directly follows a state holiday, all driver licensing offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, through Monday, Dec. 27. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

The agency is advising individuals who need driver license services to try to take advantage of online service options. Office volumes are typically higher after holidays and temporary layoff days. With a holiday and layoff day back-to-back, wait times could be significant at some offices during the week following Christmas.

DOL customers can check the DOL website to see if they can renew or replace a driver license or ID card, obtain a copy of their driving record, and renew their vehicle tabs from their own computer.

The temporary layoff days do not affect county or private vehicle licensing offices.  A list of vehicle licensing offices is available on the department’s website.


Driver licensing offices will close for Thanksgiving

November 18, 2010

By Brad Benfield

Department of Licensing driver licensing offices will be closed on November 25 and 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Offices normally open on Saturdays will reopen on November 27, but will be closed as usual on Monday, Nov. 29. Offices normally open Monday through Friday will reopen on Nov. 29. You can check the hours of operation, and in many cases the current office wait times, on the Office Locations page on the DOL Internet website.

DOL officials expect driver licensing offices to be very busy in the days following this two-day closure, making this a great time to try one of the many online driver license service options available online at the DOL website. If you need to renew your driver license or ID card, or get a copy of your driving record, you can skip the trip to a driver licensing office and do it online.    

If you do have to visit a driver licensing office in the days after this holiday, the following video has helpful tips to help make your trip to a driver licensing office as efficient as possible:


Driver licensing offices closed October 11 or 12

October 8, 2010

Due to state budget cuts, some Department of Licensing offices will be closed for business on Monday, October 11, and some will be closed on Tuesday, October 12, as employees take the fourth required temporary layoff day.

Licensing offices that are normally open Monday through Friday will be closed on October 11, and offices that are normally open Tuesday through Saturday will be closed on October 12. DOL headquarter operations, including the customer service center, will be closed October 11.

The agency is advising individuals who need driver license services to try to take advantage of online service options or to plan carefully to minimize their wait if they have to visit an office in person.

You can read more about this closure in a DOL press release issued Oct. 5, 2010 .


DOL offices closed Friday

August 4, 2010

Due to state budget cuts, DOL offices will be closed for business on Friday, August 6, as employees take the second of required temporary layoff days that must be taken over the next year. 

State temporary layoff days do not affect county or private vehicle licensing offices.  A list of vehicle licensing offices is available on the department’s website. Temporary layoff days for state employees were approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in the face of a $2.8 billion shortfall in the state’s general fund.


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 dol.wa.gov.