Department of Licensing to launch a series of community visits in April

April 17, 2018

UPDATE (April 24, 2018): DOL regrets that due to scheduling conflicts, we have canceled our Community Visits in April. We are very excited to connect with residents across the State and will be releasing information about these opportunities very soon. Please check back here for updates.

***

Director Pat Kohler and the agency’s new outreach director to share information about the agency’s efforts to protect personal information and provide enhanced customer care and services

Olympia, WA – This month, officials from the Department of Licensing will begin traveling the state to share the agency’s work to better protect the personal information of all Washington residents.

In January, a Seattle Times article pointed out deficiencies in DOL’s compliance with an executive order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee that reiterated Washington’s commitment to its policies on services to immigrants and outlined actions to ensure state agencies are clear on their expected roles and responsibilities with respect to law enforcement and data collection.

Following the Times report, DOL Director Pat Kohler pulled together a team of subject matter experts from across the agency and has been meeting with community leaders to review how data is collected, managed and shared.

“Public safety and consumer protection is at the heart of our mission. We have invested considerable time improving our policies to ensure we’re protecting the information of our customers while continuing to support our partners in law enforcement,” said Kohler. “We welcome the opportunity to talk with our customers throughout the state to hear how we can make sure they feel confident and secure when applying for a license or ID card.”

DOL’s work includes new processes for law enforcement requests, improved auditing of contracts and systems, and an expanded commitment to community education, outreach and customer service. Highlights include:

  1. An improved and more thorough review of law enforcement requests to ensure that all requests to DOL’s License Integrity Unit are properly processed and tracked.
  2. Additional review of all immigration-related requests, which DOL will now only process if accompanied by a court order. See attached LIU summary graph for details.
  3. Increased security related to access to DOL’s Driver and Plate Search (DAPS) system and sharing of Social Security Numbers.
  4. Elimination of the collection of place of birth for standard drivers’ licenses and identification cards.
  5. Creation of a new Office of Community Engagement to help educate and provide support for the public and to expand our accessibility and efforts related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Civil Rights compliance.
  6. Establishment of a hotline, 360.359.4454, where concerned residents can check to see if their data was shared with ICE.

“Though this list is not complete, it does provide some insight about the policy and process changes that are helping us protect customer information, support law enforcement and assist residents who have questions about the information we share with federal immigration agencies. More details about our EO Compliance project are available on our website, and we will continue to update the site in the days and weeks ahead as more work is completed,” said Krista Carlson, Director of DOL Communications and Education.

Rafael Estevez recently joined DOL as the agency’s new Director of Community Engagement. His initial work has focused on meeting with stakeholders and consulates to identify the barriers and challenges that exist for vulnerable populations and residents who are having difficulties accessing services.

Estevez and director Kohler will participate in the community visits, which begin in central Washington next week. The pair plans to make initial stops in Lake Chelan, Wenatchee, Granger and Yakima.

“These improvements to our services and processes are important,” Kohler said. “We are hopeful these community visits will help us spot new challenges and, ultimately, provide better service for all of our customers.”

View this blog post in Spanish:

View the travel itinerary in Spanish:

#  #  #

Skip a Trip — Go Online. The Department of Licensing has a wide variety of consumer services available online. Please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.


May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 11, 2016

motorcycle safety transit ad

Rising temperatures in our state mean an increasing number of motorcycle riders will be out on our roads. These riders can be difficult to see on busy roads because of their smaller size and profile. Motorists should take an extra moment to look twice. A second look can save a motorcyclist’s life.

May is nationally recognized as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to bring attention to motorcycle safety. In 2015, 72 riders lost their lives in motorcycle collisions. That’s 72 people who went for a ride and did not make it home.

“Motorcycle safety depends both on motorists sharing the road with motorcycles and motorcyclists making good decisions to help them reach their destinations safely.  If everyone does their part, I am confident we will see fatalities drop in 2016,” said Department of Licensing Director Pat Kohler.

To help drivers understand what they can do to make roads safer for motorcyclists, the DOL’s Motorcycle Safety Program created a motorcycle awareness video called “A Second Look” that has received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and millions of shares around the world on Facebook.

In 2015, 73 percent of the motorcycle fatalities were the fault of the rider, with the top three causes being alcohol or drug impairment, rider negligence, or excessive speed. Riders have the ability to minimize or eliminate these risks through continued training.

DOL’s Motorcycle Safety Program will promote the benefits of motorcycle rider training this year with an exciting new video called “Training is Everything”.

Emphasizing the importance of choices and consequences while riding, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission created the IT’S A FINE LINE website filled with interesting information and opportunities to get involved with state motorcycle safety efforts.

More information about motorcycle safety training and motorcycle endorsement requirements is available on the DOL website.

The playlist below features six videos concerning motorcycle safety, including the videos mentioned in this blog post.


Protecting Teen Drivers with 5 simple rules

October 16, 2015

5-to-drive-1National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 18-24, and the Washington State Patrol, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, numerous partners around the state, and the Department of Licensing want to encourage parents to use the “5 to Drive” rules to talk to their teen drivers about safety on the road.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens and young adults. In 2014, there were 530 serious injury crashes and 147 fatalities among Washington drivers between the ages of 16 and 25.

“Young drivers need extra support and parents can help reduce the risk of a crash by insisting teens follow our state’s intermediate driver licensing requirements and insisting on safe driving behavior,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “We’re promoting the ‘5 to Drive’ rules as a simple, common sense way parents can keep teen drivers safe.”

Parents can easily ask their teens to agree to the following “5 to Drive” rules before handing over their car keys:

“Distracted and impaired driving can be prevented,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “This is an opportunity for parents to act as positive role models and talk to their teenagers about these simple steps to prevent tragedies before they occur.”

For more information about Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at: www.safercar.gov/parents. It has detailed information and statistics, and informative videos designed to help save the lives of teen drivers.

The video below is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s YouTube channel. This video shows us why it’s important for parents to talk to their teens about this important issue.


Rider’s cross-country trek promoting motorcycle safety reaches Olympia

July 27, 2015
Nate Hudson and DOL Director Pat Kohler holding a copy of the video, "A Second Look," in Olympia on July 23.

Nate Hudson and DOL Director Pat Kohler holding a copy of the video, “A Second Look,” in Olympia on July 23.

Motorcyclist Nate Hudson is logging 17,000 miles during the course of the “Ride for Awareness” campaign, sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company.

On July 23, Hudson’s journey reached Olympia, where he spoke with Department of Licensing Director Pat Kohler.

Hudson praised Washington state’s efforts to protect riders on the roads, including the DOL’s video,  A Second Look.

The video addresses the role of motorists concerning motorcycle safety.

For more information about the Ride for Awareness campaign, visit Allstate.com/ride.

And for regular updates on Hudson’s whereabouts as he travels the country, checkout Instagram.com/BA_Moto.


New program to help parents teach and teenagers learn safe driving habits

February 3, 2015

pdf-cover-image---parents-supervised-training-program-1OLYMPIA — 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.


Washington signs driver license agreement with Taiwan

August 7, 2014

reciprocity-agreement-signing-080514-1OLYMPIA— A new driver license reciprocity agreement between Taiwan and Washington state will make life a little easier for drivers wanting to transfer a license from one place to the other.

The agreement allows Taiwan nationals living in Washington, such as university students, to skip the driving and written licensing exams if they are already licensed to drive in Taiwan. It gives the same option to Washington residents living in Taiwan.

“This agreement allows the Department of Licensing to honor the driving tests previously taken by a citizen of Taiwan just like we would when serving a currently licensed driver from another state,” Department of Licensing Director Pat Kohler said.

Driver licensing officials here and in Taiwan worked together to evaluate each other’s driver licensing requirements and testing processes. This ensures drivers who hold either license are fully qualified to operate a vehicle safely in both places.

The agreement was finalized at a signing ceremony on August 5th in Olympia. Director General Andy Chin of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle joined Licensing Director Kohler in signing the agreement.

The agreement takes effect immediately. Drivers from Taiwan seeking a Washington license will need to visit the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle to have their current license properly translated and verified prior to visiting a DOL driver licensing office.

Lt. Governor Brad Owen signed the agreement as a witness when it was signed by Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taipei during a trade and cultural mission in June.

“I see this agreement as a small, but important step—one of many—that have been taken in recent times to make commerce, travel and tourism that much easier between Taiwan and the state of Washington,” Owen said.

This is Washington’s fourth international driver license reciprocity agreement. The state has similar agreements with British Columbia, South Korea, and Germany.