McMenamin Safe Drivers: How to Get your License on the Olympic Peninsula

The requirements for obtaining a driver’s license on the Olympic Peninsula are the same as the requirement throughout Washington State. However, the requirements for obtaining your first Washington driver’s license vary depending on your age.

Obtaining Your First Washington Driver’s License If You Are Under The Age Of 18 Years

If you are under the age of 18 years when you apply for your first driver’s license, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be 16 years old;
  • Be a Washington resident;
  • Successfully complete a driver training course that is approved by the Washington State Department of Licensing (NOTE: Parents may enroll their teenagers in a high school Traffic Safety Education (TSE) program at the age of 15 years);
  • Have your Washington State instruction permit for at least six months;
  • Have a clean driving record for the six months prior to applying for your driver’s license;
  • Have not been convicted of any alcohol or drug offense since the time you received your instruction permit;
  • Complete at least 50 hours of driving practice (10 hours of nighttime driving) with an adult who has been licensed to drive for a minimum of five years; and,
  • Pass your driving test.

Once you have met all of the above requirements, you may apply online or at a driver licensing office location. You must have proof of identity, provide your Social Security number, pass a vision screening, have your photo taken, and pay your fees.

Obtaining Your First Washington Driver’s License If You Are Over The Age Of 18 Years

There are four ways you can obtain your first driver’s license in Washington if you are over the age of 18 years.

Option One: Complete an approved driver training course, apply for an instructional permit, and pass the drive test.

Option Two: Take and pass the knowledge test, apply for an instructional permit, practice driving with a licensed driver with five or more years of experience, and pass the drive test.

Option Three: Pass the knowledge and drive tests without taking a driver training course or practicing driving.

Option Four: Transfer a current driver’s license issued by another state.
If you are not transferring your driver’s license from another state, you will be required to complete a driver education course or pass the knowledge test prior to taking the drive test. If you choose to practice driving or take a driver education course, remember to apply for a permit prior to beginning your instruction.

Once you are ready, you must apply for your driver’s license and schedule a time to take your drive test at a training and testing location. You can find a list of locations and more information about adult driver’s licenses by visiting the Washington Department of Licensing.

Local Driving Schools on the Olympic Peninsula

If you or your child enrolls in a driving training course, the course must meet the curriculum requirements set by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Before paying fees and taking the course, it is wise to check with the DOL for any disciplinary actions against the school.

On the DOL website, the following training facilities are listed for areas in the Olympic Peninsula region. There may be more schools in your area that offer driving training. Be sure to verify the curriculum used and the training offered meets the DOL standards.

  • Port Angeles – Elite School of Driving and the Northwest Driving School of Port Angeles
  • Sequim – Apollo Driving Academy, LLC and Northwest Driving School of Sequim
  • Port Townsend – Northwest Driving School of Port Townsend

Renewing Your Washington State Driver’s License

Drivers between the ages of 24 and 70 may qualify to renew their driver’s licenses online or through a License eXpress account. If you are unable or ineligible to renew your driver’s license online, you must visit a driver licensing office. For most drivers in Washington, driver’s licenses must be renewed every six years.

Help For Parents With Teen Drivers

It may be difficult for a parent to know when their child is ready to drive a car. Should parent encourage their children to get their driver’s licenses as soon as they are eligible to or should they wait until the child is a little bit older? What should a parent do if their child is not a safe or good driver? Fortunately, there are many resources in Washington State

Washington State provides three excellent resources for parents to use as they are teaching their teen to drive:

MetLife also has a wonderful online resource full of tips for teaching teens to drive. State Farm also has great online resources for parents of teens.

The best resource a parent has is himself or herself. Spending time in the car with your teen driver is the best way to judge if your teen is ready to drive or if your teen needs a lot more practice. Enrolling your child in a high school traffic education course can also be a great way to introduce your teen to safe driving rules. However, the best thing you can do for your teen driver is to invest your time in your child.

If you are still feel you need help teaching your teen to drive, you may want to consider taking the National Safety Council’s Alive at 25 Parent Program. The 2-hour online course helps parents identify the risks their teen drivers face and how to teach their teen drivers how to safely handle situations.

Have You Been Injured in an Olympic Peninsula Motor Vehicle Accident?

If you or your teen driver has been injured in an Olympic Peninsula motor vehicle accident, the injury attorneys of McMenamin & McMenamin can help. Call our office at 360-452-9242 for a free legal consultation. If you have been injured by a negligent, careless, or distracted driver, you are entitled to receive compensation for your damages under Washington’s personal injury laws. You do not need to bear the financial burden of a car accident alone.

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