DOL takes immediate steps to stop disclosure of information to federal immigration authorities

January 15, 2018

OLYMPIA—The Washington State Department of Licensing is taking immediate action to ensure the agency is safeguarding personal information that can be used to determine immigration status and to uphold the intent of Governor Inslee’s Executive Order 17-01, Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.

 “We support the Executive Order, but failed to meet the Governor’s intent regarding the protection of this type of information,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said. “We are sorry that our work did not align with our state’s values.

“Our agency did not clearly communicate the nature of all federal law enforcement requests to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature. Nor did we seek clarification about how to handle information requested by agencies seeking records related to United States Code (USCs) that contain both criminal and civil immigration violations.

“We are completely focused on correcting our processes and rebuilding trust with all Washington residents,” Kohler said. “We are building a comprehensive plan to ensure greater accountability within the agency.”

In consultation with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General, DOL announced the following steps:

  • Stopping the release of all records to federal immigration authorities. Moving forward, records will not be released to these entities without a court order signed by a federal judge or magistrate, or under the requirement of state or federal law.
  • Conducting a thorough review of agency processes and computer systems with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General.
  • Using emergency rulemaking to end the collection of information that isn’t mandated and could be misused, such as place of birth information gathered during the driver license or ID card application process. Once the emergency rulemaking process begins, information can be found here: http://www.dol.wa.gov/about/driversrules.html.
  • Accepting the resignation of DOL Deputy Director Jeff DeVere’s. DeVere was the executive sponsor overseeing compliance with Executive Order 17-01.
  • Hiring of a community liaison officer to work with community groups to ensure DOL processes, procedures and services meet the needs of all Washington residents. This person, who will report to the agency director, will provide oversight and accountability and coordinate outreach and education to individuals and stakeholder groups.
  • Establishing a new hotline to answer customer concerns and any questions they may have about this issue.
  • Educating DOL staff on all changes made to policies and procedures related to the release of information to law enforcement and ensure all requests are evaluated properly. We also will make sure all staff understand the Governor’s Executive Order and the importance of diversity, tolerance and inclusion.

“I am working closely with stakeholder groups to improve our processes and provide more transparency going forward,” Kohler said.  Washington residents can submit questions or comments to Director Kohler at DOLDirector@dol.wa.gov.

Read this news release in the following languages:


Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Consider checking your vehicle for open recalls

January 3, 2018

Become a safer driver in just a few minutes by visiting  http://www.checktoprotect.org/#/, to conduct a fast, free search for open recalls on your car. By entering a vehicle’s year, Identification Number (VIN), make and model you cVehicle an access a list of potential open recalls. The VIN can be found in the lower left corner of a car’s windshield or on the inside of the driver-side door, or on your vehicle’s registration card and possibly on insurance documentation.

Drivers who have open recalls on their vehicles can visit a local authorized dealership to have them repaired for free.

Check To Protect is a national campaign designed to encourage drivers to search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) open recall database by educating drivers about the staggering number of vehicles with unrepaired recalls and underscores the need to promptly fix recalls once drivers become aware of them.

According to NHTSA, there are more than 53 million—or more than one in four—vehicles on the road with unresolved safety recalls. Neglecting recalls could lead to costly vehicle damage and can jeopardize the safety of motorists on the roads.

Launched in June by the National Safety Council (NSC) and founding coalition member, FCA US, Check To Protect focuses on informing all motorists of the online tool, particularly owners of older and used vehicles.

According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers, the recall compliance rate for vehicles up to four years old is 83 percent; the rate decreases significantly to 44 percent for vehicles five to 10 years old. The drop in compliance is attributed to the difficultly in tracking owners of older and used vehicles. Since drivers expect to receive alerts about recalls, they do not tend to check for themselves.

The NSC (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where they can make the most impact.


Watch out for non-DOL websites

October 31, 2017
Example of a website that is NOT affiliated with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Example of a website that is NOT affiliated with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Be careful when considering any licensing or vehicle registration transaction on non-DOL websites.

While many websites offer online services, there is only one official website for the Washington State Department of Licensing:  dol.wa.gov.

Unofficial websites typically charge additional fees.  They may even charge for services that are free at dol.wa.gov.

Worse yet, unofficial websites might never deliver the service you paid to receive.

For a safe, secure transaction without additional fees, please visit dol.wa.gov.

VIDEO


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.