Driving tests to be halted at Forks, Port Townsend offices

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIA — Driver knowledge and skills tests will no longer be offered in licensing offices in Forks and Port Townsend as of March 18, according to the Department of Licensing.

Previously scheduled drive tests will be honored in these offices, but new tests can be done only in the Port Angeles licensing office or through a private driver-training school, Christine Anthony, department spokeswoman, said Friday.

The department is continuing expansion of the program that allows driver-training schools and school district driver-training programs across the state to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing for new driver’s license applicants.

Wait time reduced

The department has been shutting down testing since October to cut the time customers must stand in line, Anthony said.

“It’s been very successful. Our average wait time in the last three months statewide has been under 10 minutes,” she said.

Wait times have gone down even while the state closed venues for the test, she said.

She said she didn’t know how much private driving schools are charging for the tests.

Other offices that will drop testing in March are Hoquiam, Ilwaco, Shelton, Goldendale, Oroville, Coulee Dam, Republic, Clarkston and Colville.

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 go to licensing offices to obtain their licenses.

Customers are still required to pay the driver’s license application fee to the state.

Driver-training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.

Final phase of House bill

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 office in Forks is at 421 Fifth Ave. It is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. For more information, phone 360-374-6440 or visit http://tinyurl.com/4x7h6oo.

The office in Port Townsend is at 2300 S. Park Ave. It is open from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, phone 360-385-0378 or visit http://tinyurl.com/aqh55za.

The Port Angeles office is in the Armory Building at 228 W. First St., Suite M.

It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, phone 360-457-2545 or visit http://tinyurl.com/aw6l8a4.

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

Last modified: March 02. 2013 6:02PM
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