OLYMPIA – Changes to the laws governing special parking privileges for persons with disabilities will take effect July 1 and are aimed at reducing the number of people who abuse disabled parking permits.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Department of Licensing (DOL), Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), Washington State Patrol (WSP), and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have teamed up to remind drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders.
“Motorcycle safety depends on safe driving and cooperation of everyone on the road, whether they’re on a bike or in a car,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “We’re getting closer to our Target Zero traffic safety goals but have more work to do.”
Target Zero is Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by the year 2030. In Washington, motorcycle deaths are not steadily declining like overall traffic deaths. From 2011 through 2013, motorcycles made up just 4 percent of the registered vehicles on our roads, but accounted for almost 17 percent of all traffic fatalities (225 of 1327).
In just the first four months (January-April) of 2015, there have been nine motorcyclist fatalities. The five year average (2010-2014) for this same four month time period is 12 fatalities. Speeding, running off the road, and riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are the main contributing factors in these crashes. Motorcyclists should always ride sober and within the posted speed limits, get the required training and endorsement, and wear DOT compliant helmets and protective gear.
Several projects are underway in Washington to reduce serious motorcycle crashes. A campaign called “It’s A Fine Line” promotes safe riding through social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. DOL training contractors are distributing motorcycle hangtags to dealerships statewide to encourage riders of all skill levels to get certified training.
DOL also produced a motorist awareness video that has gone viral. It’s titled, A Second Look.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative designed to encourage drivers of all other kinds of vehicles and motorcyclists to share the road with each other. For more information on motorcycle safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.
Hiring a limousine service is one way parents and students can ease their anxiety and help ensure the night’s travel itinerary is safe.
However, there are unlicensed limousine services putting everyone on the road at risk.
Unlicensed and unregulated limo businesses offer rides in vehicles that may be dangerous and driven by people who are unfit to drive or provide services to young people.
Parents and students can easily check whether a business is licensed by visiting the Department of Licensing’s website.
DOL’s website includes consumer tips, a printable poster and a video that offers tips about hiring a limo service.
DOL’s printable poster states, Don’t Muck Around When You Rent a Limo, and includes helpful information.
Looking for a driver licensing office near you?
An online “locator map” on the Department of Licensing’s website is the best source for information about driver licensing office locations.
Just click on any city appearing on the map, and you’ll be taken to DOL’s webpage featuring specific information about the driver licensing office in that city.
In addition to the address for each location, you’ll also find the days and hours each office is open.
Current wait times for each office are also found by using the locator map.
Just above the locator map, you’ll also find a drop-down menu featuring a complete list of driver licensing office locations. Here, the cities are conveniently listed in alphabetical order.
When looking for the location of a driver licensing office, DOL highly recommends using the locator map; especially since search engines can produce inaccurate information.
OLYMPIA — The Department of Licensing has partnered with the Safe Roads Alliance and State Farm Insurance to launch a new program that provides parents and guardians with a simple, easy-to-follow plan designed to help teens develop safe driving habits.
“Young drivers in Washington State, between the ages of 16 and 19 years old, are more than twice as likely to crash as drivers in other age groups due to inexperience,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “Parents play a critical role in their children’s education and this guide encourages parents to expose teenagers to a variety of enhanced supervised driving experiences to help them become knowledgeable and safe drivers.”
The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program guide is packed with information and lessons on driving basics, parental pointers, and licensing qualifications that are helpful to parents of new drivers. The program is supplemented by the RoadReady mobile app, which can easily and accurately track the required supervised driving time of 50 hours, including 10 hours of night driving. Last year, 76,500 Washington teens sought instruction (learner’s) permits, and the Department wanted to provide parents with a resource geared toward skill development and expanding the conditions and time that teens drive with their parents prior to driving independently.
The program focuses on the role of the parent in the teen driver education process and encourages parents and teens to drive together in a variety of weather conditions and unfamiliar settings, city and heavy traffic routes, and also various times of day. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm study, Driving Through the Eyes of Teens, teen drivers whose parents are highly involved in the teen driver education process were half as likely to get in a car crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving, and twice as likely to wear seatbelts.
“Getting a driver’s license is such a special moment in a teen’s life, but it often causes increased anxiety for parents,” said Ed Gold, State Farm Marketing Director. “Research tells us the single most important thing parents can do to help their teens stay safe on the road is to allow as much supervised practice behind the wheel as possible. Driving with a parent builds a new driver’s confidence and we hope this new resource will help parents and teens make the most of this time together.”
The free program guide is available at driver licensing offices around the state. It is also available on the DOL website at: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/docs/parentguide.pdf. The RoadReady mobile app is available at the Apple Store and Google Play.