WA Department of Licensing Replacing Driver Licensing System in 2018

Photo: WA DOL

Olympia, WA – On September 4th, 2018 the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will launch a new program called DRIVES/Driver. As part of the new program, the DOL  will begin issuing drivers license cards and identity cards with a new driver license number format,  according to a release by the Department of Licensing.

The DOL calls  the current driver license number or DLN,  a Personal Identification Code (PIC). The current PIC is 12 characters long and includes data from the driver’s name and date of birth.

After September 4th, 2018, every person receiving a license for the first time in Washington State ill receive one with the new DLN format.  People who already have a license will get the new DLN format at the next issuance when they renew their license or replace it for some reason.

Each New card issued  will start with the letters ‘WDL’ and be randomly generated.  This includes both standard and enhanced  WA Driver Licenses, identification cards and commercial drivers licenses.

Why the change? The new DLN format is more sustainable says the DOL. “We are  running out of possible letter and number combinations using the old format,” wrote the DOL.  The new, randomly generated DLN’s gives the Department of Licensing billions of possible combinations so they will not run out in the near future. It is also more secure because it does not use protected personal information. Additionally, this means a person can maintain their same drivers license number even after a name change or credential change because the  randomly generated DLN will not relate to an individual’s name or birthdate.

Photo: WA DOL

Each of the 12 characters (alphabetical and numerical) will have the same characteristics as they do on the current PIC.  For example, the first seven characters of the PIC are alphabetical. The new DLN will also start with seven alphabetical characters. The same holds true for numbers, all numbers in the current PIC will still be numbers in the new DLN format.  The new system will have some changes. Special Characters are no longer going to be used. Vowels (A,E,I,O,U) will not be used and the letters Q and V will also not be used.  The Department of Licensing hopes that the  elimination of these letters will reduce confusion. Sometimes a Zero and the alpha character O are confused. Eliminating all these letters also removes the potential for the creation of unacceptable words in the new  driver license number.

The Department of Licensing said it will take a full six-years after the launch on September 4th of 2018 for all diver license numbers to convert to the new system.  This means the DOL will have both versions in circulation until 2024.  The DOL believes the long roll out will make it easier for customers and the DOL to get used to the changes.

The DOL plans to update their website to inform drivers of this change and will be proving brochures to their licensing offices to give customers and employees more information about the upcoming changes.

Questions about the new DLN DRIVES/Driver program can be emailed to drivesr2questions@dol.wa.gov



2 Comments on "WA Department of Licensing Replacing Driver Licensing System in 2018"

  1. Get yourself a passport and operate under the guidelines of the Constitution of the United States of America. You are ALL American citizens!

  2. Get yourself a a passport and operate under the Constitutional guidelines.

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