Cost of driver's license goes up a lot Monday

Cost of driver's license goes up a lot Monday

Credit: KING

Cost of driver's license goes up a lot Monday

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by TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 7:49 AM

It’s going to cost you nearly twice as much for a driver’s license in Washington starting Monday.

The cost for a new license will jump from $45 to $80 as of Oct. 1. That includes the cost of taking the exam. The renewal cost increases from $25 to $45. You can renew your license up to one year before it expires.

The increase was passed by the state Legislature this year in House Bill 1635. The money will go to the general transportation fund.

The DOL is also getting out of the business of conducting licensing exams at state offices, contracting those out to approved driver training schools and school districts that offer traffic safety education programs.

"The driver training school industry is regulated by Department of Licensing. We've been going in and making sure they are using curriculums that meet standards. This is just going to build on top of that, which will include looking at all their testing functions," said DOL spokesperson Brad Benfield.

The DOL says many schools already have final tests that exceed the standards of the state exams.

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While drivers will still have to pay the $35 application fee to the DOL, the driver training schools can set their own fee to conduct the tests. Benfield said there is no cap on those fees, but he expects competition between the schools will keep costs down.

Motorcycle training schools will also be allowed to administer the motorcycle endorsement exam.

After passing the tests, drivers will still go to a DOL office to get their license. Identification cards will also be given out at DOL offices.

The goal of these changes is to eliminate the long lines and wait times at DOL offices.

"This is a big change in the way we do business and it will remove one of the most time-consuming transactions people have to do in our offices," said DOL Director Alan Haight.

King County DOL offices will be the first to phase out conducting exams, starting Monday with Kent and West Seattle. The conversion is expected to be done statewide by Dec. 1. However, at least one DOL office in each of the state's eight licensing districts will still conduct licensing exams.

Other fees are going up, including:

  • Applying for your first license or transferring a valid license from another state: From $20 to $35
  • Take knowledge and/or driving test: From $20 to $35
  • Enhanced driver’s license: From $60 to $95
  • Renew enhanced driver’s license: From $40 to $60

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