OLYMPIA — Driving tests will no longer be offered at the Hoquiam Department of Licensing office as the Department of Licensing continues to expand its 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 license applicants.
In addition to Hoquiam, driver knowledge and skills tests will no longer be offered at offices in Forks, Port Townsend, Ilwaco, Shelton, Goldendale, Oroville, Coulee Dam, Republic, Clarkston and Colville as of March 18. 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.
Commercial driver knowledge testing will still be conducted at the offices, according to the department. Driving skills tests for commercial licenses are already conducted by driver training schools.
According to the Department of Licensing website, the only driving school currently licensed to adminsiter driving tests in Grays Harbor County is Cascade Driving School of Aberdeen. For Pacific County residents, tests will still be offered at the South Bend Department of Licensing office.
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 and are still required to pay the driver license application fee. 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 by-county listing of state-approved driver training schools, go to: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/testing.html.