DOL comes down on driving school



Posted on April 6, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Dan Barker, owner of 1st Time Driving Academy, has always been shy of our cameras, and this may be the reason why: The Department of Licensing has filed a statement of charges against 1st Time Driving Academy.

The state alleges that an instructor taught for more than seven months without a license, students did not complete the required six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction to get their license and were still passed, and then the owner failed to send those completed reports to the state.

"All of this stuff is required by state law," DOL Spokesman Brad Benfield said. "So there is no excuse for failing to do this."

We first told you about 1st Time Driving Academy last fall. That's when the school failed to provide a certificate to Hayden Bodine three months after he finished the class. That's when he told us, "To this day I haven't gotten it, I check the mail every day."

Back in November, I made sure Hayden got his certificate.

Now the state says it will suspend 1st Time Driving Academy's license for three years if it makes any more mistakes. The school operates four branches in the Puget Sound area.

I called and stopped by the Maple Valley office to see if Dan Barker wanted to talk about these allegations. No one was around.

One final note: The Department of Licensing will honor the certificates of kids who completed classes with 1st Time Driving.

"There aren't any issues that would affect one of the student's ability to go in with their certificate and get a license," said Benfield.

The school can appeal the decision.

The Department of Licensing has a Web site where you can check the license of a driving school and its instructors. You can find it here.