Driver testing to be conducted outside DOL across the state

November 27, 2012

OLYMPIA— On December 1, the Department of Licensing will expand a new program allowing driver training schools and school district driver training programs across the state to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing for new driver license applicants.

“We started this program in King County and it has gone smoothly,” said DOL Director Alan Haight. “Now driver training schools in many other areas of the state are ready to conduct drive tests, which will remove one of the most time-consuming transactions from our offices. We think this is going to speed things up for other customers who must come into an office.”

As of December 1, driver knowledge and skills tests will no longer be offered in the following licensing service offices: Bellingham, Friday Harbor, Everett, Greenwood, Smokey Point, Renton, Federal Way, Lacey, Parkland, Centralia, Vancouver East, Vancouver North, Kennewick, Chelan, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Davenport, Newport, and Spokane.

Previously scheduled drive tests will be honored in these offices. The Department of Licensing will continue to offer tests in areas that don’t have driver training schools nearby that offer testing.

To conduct driver tests, driver training schools must be licensed with the state or be part of a state-certified public school driver training program. They have to apply for the authority to administer driver testing, and are subject to audits and record checks.

After passing the tests, customers will go to a licensing office to obtain their license. Customers are still required to pay the driver license application fee to DOL. Driver training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.

The program is the final phase of implementing House Bill 1635, which gives the Department authority to contract with private driver training schools, school districts and motorcycle training schools to conduct some knowledge and skills tests. The bill was passed in an effort to reduce wait times in licensing service offices.

For a list of state-approved driver training schools, go to: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/testing.html.


New motorcycle endorsement riding test introduced

August 28, 2012
WA DOL image

WA DOL image

OLYMPIA—Washington state is leading the nation in the deployment of a new motorcycle endorsement skills test designed to better ensure riders are ready for hazards they will face on our highways.

The Department of Licensing’s Motorcycle Safety Program worked closely with the national Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to design a new test that meets new federal recommendations including key motorcycle skills.

“Our new skills test was created to address issues identified by analyzing motorcycle crashes and crash data,” said Licensing Director Alan Haight. “We’re now training and testing the skills needed to avoid the leading causes of crashes.”

One of these new riding elements tests a rider’s ability to handle curves. Through analysis of motorcycle crash data it was learned that the majority of riders were injured or killed in accidents that occurred in curves.

While working with the MSF to design the test, DOL volunteered to introduce it in our state first to evaluate it before it is put in place nationally. The new test was introduced on August 1.

Most states use tests and rider training curriculum created by the MSF and other states are expected to start using this new test in the spring of 2013.

To support the new test, DOL has created a five-part video series demonstrating each element of the new test. In addition, these videos explain how the elements directly relate to the on-street skills necessary to deal with real-world riding situations.

These videos, produced by DOL staff, can be viewed below.  They’re also available on the Department of Licensing’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/WALicensing