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 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.”

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:

Good press for new online application

January 15, 2010

Courtesy KNDO.COM

By Brad Benfield

TV station KNDO/KNDU in the Tri-Cities reported on our website updates and the launch of our newest online service option. Watch the report here.

A better way to get a copy of your driver record

January 7, 2010

by Brad Benfield

For the first time ever, drivers in our state can skip the trip to a driver licensing office and buy a copy of their driver record online at the Department of Licensing website instead.

Driving records (technically known as “abstracts of driving records,” or ADRs) show a history of violations, convictions, collisions, and departmental actions incurred by a driver over a period of time. More than 200,000 drivers in Washington purchase copies of their driving records every year. Most need one to provide to a current or prospective employer to maintain or establish eligibility to drive on the job.

 Getting a copy of your driving record online still costs $10, but the report itself has been completely redesigned to make it easier to read and understand. ADRs purchased online are provided in a non-editable Adobe Acrobat format and can be printed immediately on your home computer. They also can be purchased and printed at the many self service stations located within many driver licensing offices around the state.

 There are several versions that can be purchased depending on the reason an individual needs it. A driver can choose to get a complete record that details their entire driving history, or a more limited record specifically designed to meet state requirements related to use for insurance and employment purposes.