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Driver's License offices in Washington




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Driver´s License in Washington:

Emergency licenses for minors Minimum age for learner permit Minimum age for restricted permit
No 15 years old 16 years old

The learner must be at least 16 years of age, must held the permission for 6 months and must count with 50 hours of driving experience. The driver is not allowed to drive any passenger younger than 20 years old that doesn’t belong to the family.

The restriction establishes that it is not allowed to drive between 1am and 4am unless the minor is supervised by an adult over 25 years old in possession of a valid driver’s license. If there are two or more transit violations, the license will be revoked for 6 months, or until the driver turns 18 years old (Wherever occurs first).

Also, the violation of any transit rule, will extend the second phase (No more than 3 passengers under 20, and not allowed to drive between 1am and 5am) until the driver turns 18 years old, if the license hasn't been held for a year before the infraction.

Minimum age for non restricted permit Validity of the permit
17 years old 6 years

Driver´s License

In the States, the driver`s license is issued by every State or territory. A driver normally must obtain a driver's license from its State of residence, and this permit is valid for all the rest of the United States. A certain territory could also suspend the driving privileges around its limits to a driver who had violated the traffic rules. A lot of States shared a common system of classes with certain exceptions. In the case of commercial licenses, for example, those are standardized by federal regulations.

History

Around 1903, Massachusetts and Missouri were the first States to require a driver’s license, but there was no requirement to pass an exam to get one. In 1908, Henry Ford Delivered the first Ford T Vehicle, the one had a very accessible price and was affordable to all the american middle class. (Henry Ford, born in Michigan, obtained his first driver’s license by the age of 56).

The same year that Fort T came into the streets, Rhode Island began to request a driver's license for all drivers and decided that all licenses will be issued after completing a driver's exam.Around 1907 Massachusetts started to require an exam to achieve licenses for Chauffeurs, and around 1920, the exam was mandatory for all drivers interested on a driver's license.

Special Licenses and Standard licenses.

Non Restricted licenses:

This is the most common license in America. There are some differences between some States on the class of license they use to distinguish a regular driver’s license and a special one, like the restricted one, the Chauffeur or motorcycle license. I.e.In Tennessee a Standard driver's license is called Class D, the Class M is for Motorcycles and the Class H is a hardship license.

Hardship license for minors:

These licenses are oriented to those drivers between 14 and 15 years old (sometimes up to 18), who have the need to drive for family difficulties, like family financial problems or medical problems; the driver needs to go to work or School and there is no other transport available.

Provisional licenses:

Its funcion is the same as a driver's license, but these are issued for drivers under 18 years of age, between 14 and 17 years old. Almost every State, except South Dakota, counts with some kind of graduated license, but the restriction time and the period that a new driver must held the license vary widely depending on the State.

The restrictions include:

  • Not being able to drive in dark hours, during the nights (unless the driver is 18 years old or if he or she have completed the online driving course) without any adult (generally 11pm like in Pennsylvania, o 1am like in Wisconsin). Nevertheless, some States (like North Carolina) increase this period from 9pm. Some States, like i.e. New York, offers some exemptions for special situations, like driving to or from work, School, medical reasons, religious activities; but there are others like Massachusetts that does not contemplate no exemption.
  • Restriction for carrying passengers under certain age. I.e. In California is not permitted to transport any passenger under 20 years old for the first year of the license, unless those passengers are direct family (siblings, cousins, nease/neffew or any other older than 21 with a valid drivers license).

Chauffeur's license:

Its function is the same as a regular license, with the add that this license also allows the titular to drive a taxi, limousine or other rented vehicle. In the States, this kind of license is complicated to get, the chauffeur license are not considered a commercial or professional license and, (assuming that the driver already possess a regular license), generally it does not require a driving exam to turn it to a Chauffeur license; However, some States require a written exam about specific driving rules for a taxi or a background check, and also require that the driver is at least 18 years of age (bear in mind that some taxi companies only hire people from 25 years old or older for Insurance reasons).

Motorcycle license:

Only for Motorcycles, frequently combined with the regular drivers license. In some States this one does not include some types of motorcycles, scooters or motorized bikes, and the driver must find what classification is the correct one for his or her vehicle in that particular State. A common criteria, but no universal, is to check if the motorcycle has a 250cc or less, the wheel size, kind of transmission, and legal code to distinguish the moped and scooters from motorcycles.

Improved licenses:

This kind of license is issued for american citizens in Washington, Michigan, California, Vermont, New York and Minnesota, and se the nationality of the driver appart of the drivers permit. A EDL is a compatible document with a WHTI, acceptable document to cross land or sea borders incoming from Canada, Caribe or Mexico. TO apply for this kind of license it is necessary to bring an American passport and a birth certificate as proof of the nationality. The commercial license and the Motorcycle license also have the same option to be improved.

Permit for disabled persons

The permit for disabled persons is issued to those people who comply with a responsible standard driving and parking access. Special access is issued to improve their life when driving. In some States, like in Texas, the disable person can be forced to surrender his or her licenses depending on their disability.

Some States have additional classifications. I.e. Hawaii counts with a special license for motorcycle drivers, and other States count for other separated categories for snow bikes and all terrain vehicles. South Carolina and Georgia issue different versions of commercial licenses for agrobusiness.

Driver license laws.

Drivers under 18 generally must follow an educational program, either at School or in a private driving School, and to practise with a professional before applying to the license. Some States like New York also require new drivers to take driving lessons before applying for the license.

However, in some States, all adult drivers with their first license could be on a trial period for some amount of time (generally between 6 months and two years), during this period, any transit violation has more severe consequences or even suspension of the license for some time, rules that would not apply for the experimented drivers.

Use of license as Identification and proof of age.

There is not two license numbers issued by the State that are equal. Due to identity theft, the Social Security Number does not appear on the drivers license. To comply with the Standar from the AAMVA, most of the States issue the licenses vertically for minors of 21 years old, and horizontally for people older than 21. This way, it is really easy to check if the person is allowed to buy alcohol for example, just seeing the orientation of the driver's license ( The legal age to buy alcoholic beverages in the States is 21).

Keep in mind that this is not like this in all cases, I.e. in Arizona, the orientation of the drivers license can be easily changed regardless of the age, besides, the drivers license doesn't expire until the driver turns 65 years old in Arizona. Most of the States demand drivers to obtain a license issued in their own territory within a certain period of time.

Real ID

When an interested person applies for a Real ID, as a new applicant or to revenew an old one, he or she must present a citizen document (american passport, birth certificate, Social Security Number, Change of name certificate - if apply- and two proofs of residence on the State). The State will check the documents and will keep a copy. It is not permitted to have more than one Real ID at the time.

A Real ID can be easily identified depending on the State. These nes have a gold or black star on the upper right corner of the card. From October 2011, Connecticut also issued them. From January 2013, Ohia is issuing the Real ID under the name "Safe Identification Card".

California began to issue real IDs in 2018.

Improved Driver’s licenses

From May 2009, only the States of Washington, New York, Vermont and Michigan issued this kind of license. From January 2014, Minnesota was added to the list; now we will have Ohaio that is pending on the approval of the DHS to become on the 6th State to issue Real IDs.

The Secretary of National Security announced in March 2008, that the Improved drivers licenses issue in Washington was the first license approved by the “Occidental Hemisphere Travel Initiative”; According to the press communication of the National Security Department, they are also working with Arizona to develop new improved drivers licences there.

On September 15th, 2008, New York started to issue Improved drivers licenses that comply with the WHTI. Texas was on its way to implement this as well, but the governor Rick Perry stopped all the program, despite that we are talking of a state law authorized by the Texas Department of Public Safety to issue EDL and a final decision of the State general attorney, Greg Abbott, that the production of EDL in Texas will comply with the federal requirements.

Digital drivers licences.

The digital License does not require any additional hardware and includes a policy of "Do not touch" that allows the owner to be in possession of the mobile device at any moment.

In October 2018, the State Secretary of Louisiana, Kyle Ardoin, approved the digital ID for the identification of voting people at elections. In January 2019, the Alcohol and Tobacco Office in Louisiana approved the use of the digital ID through LA Wallet as a way of identification of age to purchase cigarettes and alcohol.


Tips for an excellent road test in Washington:

If you go to take your driver's test chances are that, if your a car Enthusiast, this is one of the most exciting days of your life and even if you're not it opens up a world of possibilities for traveling and do things you never could have done before. If you follow these few simple tips you'll be well on your way and you'll pass it with flying colors.

Watch out your mirrors

Before leaving the parking lot and getting out on the road is important to adjust your mirrors, your seat position, steering wheel position and of course fasten your seatbelt.

9 and 3 steering wheel position

It's important to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times. Of course if you have a manual transmission vehicle you have to take one hand off the ship, but this will keep your test administrator feeling safe and you will be in the most control of your vehicle. Proper hand position is at 9 and 3, and i guarantee if you drive one-handed at the 12 position you're going to fail your test.

When changing lanes

When changing lanes is important to do the following: First Signal, then look in your rearview mirror all by your side mirror, look over your shoulder, and if is safe, then you can go. Once you're in the lane that you're moving into all the way, then you can turn your turn indicator.

Always signal if you're changing lanes no matter if there's no traffic around you, is important to check both mirrors, look over your shoulder and use your turn signal.

When changing multiple lanes

If you're going over multiple Lanes always go from one lane to the next, pause for a little bit of time, then turn your turning indicator on, look at both mirrors over shoulder, go to the next line, pause and then go to the next. Shooting over across 4 Lanes of traffic is a good way to fail the test.

Pulling out onto a street with a high speed limit

Always give yourself plenty of time when pulling out onto a street with a high speed limit. It will not annoy the person providing your test if you wait there until it's safe.

If you pull out in front of a car that is moving quickly and do not give yourself enough room you're going to lose points. Waiting until there's plenty of space, more so than you think you would need normally, it is the proper way to do it.

Stay in the center of the lane

Often beginner drivers tend of fear to one side of the lane or the other. On a single Lane road that means you might been too close to the double yellow or too close to the shoulder. To prevent that there is a technique that some people used that is helpful when you're learning , is to look farther ahead in the road and try to imagine the center of the road, picture a line in the center of the lane you're in passing through the center of your vehicle. This helps keep you in the center of your lane which is important for succeeding at the driver's test.

Tip for make a perfect stop

When coming to a stop sign or an stop or red light is important to stop before the white line in the road. That mean, when you're coming to a full stop, you should still be able to see the white line in front of the hood of your car ( This is important ). Then, if it's a blind turn, once you come to a full start, now you can start creeping out a little bit further and further so you can see the flow of traffic and make your right or left turn. Always use a safe following distance between yourself and the car is in front of you. The higher the speed limit is, the more the following distance because, if the person in front of you breaks all the sudden, you want to give yourself enough time to react.

On braking

Also, before you break, always check your rearview mirror. If you come onto a stop abruptly and there's a car right behind you, they could run into you. Obviously if it's an emergency situation this isn't always possible, but in the ideal case always check your mirror before braking.

Keep your eyes always in movement

Always keep your eyes constantly scanning the road for pedestrian, any obstacles or turns that are coming up. That means checking your mirrors constantly: Your rearview mirror, your side mirrors, looking over your shoulder. Being attentive and showing that you're paying attention is going to make a great impression to pass your road test.

Cut corners tip

When making protective left turns people often cut corners. Is something that everyone does on the road all the time: passing over a double yellow or a white line is a great way to fail your driver's test so make sure to take it wide enough, stay in the guidelines when you're making left turns and not cut any corners.

Drive as smooth as possible

Be as smooth as possible in your movements. It means smooth braking, smooth acceleration, smooth steering inputs, etc. Being jerky is not going to go well.

Drive defensively, not aggressively

Drive defensively not aggressively this day is about proving that you are a safe driver not the next F1 star. Prove that on the racetrack.

Check the speed limit

Don't speed. This is very important. In general people are used to going 5 miles an hour over the speed limit or so when driving in a daily situation but for the test you cannot do that. Speed limit or below is required.

Also having a radar detector in your car for the test probably won't leave a very good first impression.

Pre-drive test

The DMV wants to make sure that you are proficient with all the controls on the inside the car before you start your test.

Here's one sample of a pre-drive checklist:

  • The DMV will tell you to turn the car on, but don't start it.
  • Turn the turn signal on to the left and then the right.
  • Turn the headlights on.
  • Turn the headlights off.
  • Turn the windshield wipers on.
  • Turn on the emergency flashers in the morning.
  • The examiner may ask you, if you come out in the morning and there's frost on your front window, how do you defrost your front window? You selected froster, turn the fan on to number 2 or higher and select the “Heat”.
  • Any other examiner will ask you to show them your defrosters: Where are they located?
  • The Examiner will then ask you to disengage the emergency parking brake and then, engage the emergency parking brake.
  • They will then ask you to honk the horn.


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