By David Ammons
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Motorists soon will be able to avoid those
long lines to get a driver's license renewed.
Gov. Gary Locke signed legislation this week allowing online
or mail renewals, much as car owners now can renew license
tabs with a click of the computer mouse.
The governor has been proud of his work to create a "wired"
government that allows citizens and businesses to conduct
many transactions online. Citizens can reserve a camping site,
find a ferry schedule, pay business taxes or child support,
or check on road conditions by going online.
Motorists will soon be able to renew their five-year driver's
licenses online as well. The new system should be operating
by October, said Licensing Director Fred Stephens.
At least once every 10 years - or every other renewal
the motorist will have to go to the driver's license office
and go through the process in person, including a vision test
and a fresh photo.
The new online service, with payment by credit card, will
allow a person to avoid driving and waiting in line, Locke
"It will be instantaneous, with the ease of doing it
from your own home" at any hour of day or night, the
The legislation, Senate Bill 5428, also will allow renewals
"This is a real boost for digital government,"
said Locke spokesman Roger Nyhus.
The state has regularly ranked at or near the top of national
ratings for making government accessible through technology.