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Department of Licensing expands driving schools

Driver training will continue to expand to special driver training schools and school districts next year.

The Department of Licensing recently announced the expansion.

“This program continues to operate smoothly, so we are stopping testing in several more offices as of the first of the year,” said Alan Haigh, director of the licensing department. “There are even more driver training schools that are ready to conduct drive tests, and we have definitely seen an improvement in the wait times for our customers that must come and visit us.”

As of Jan. 1, 2013, driving exams will no longer be available at the Anacortes, Bremerton, Mount Vernon and Poulsbo, as well as a handful of other DOL sites across Washington.

Oak Harbor’s site will remain.

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.

A list of state-approved driver training schools is available at www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/testing.html.

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