The in basket: Jim De Lorm wrote in November to say, “A person I know that lost his license about five years ago just bought a car from a dealer. Do you know if it is legal to sell a car to someone who has lost their driver’s license for whatever reason?”
The out basket: I doubted there would be any prohibition of selling a car to an unlicensed person. The unlicensed person wouldn’t necessarily be the driver.
My State Patrol contact also doubted it and suggested I ask a dealer.
Jack Wheeler at Heartland Toyota, who handled the most recent car purchase by my wife and me, said the only requirement to buy a car is being able to enter into a legal contract.
When a reader commented (see below) about a contrary experience in buying a Kia, I checked with a Kia dealership,where I was told no driver’s license is required and they had sold cars to people so they could be driven around by others. But if a person is financing the purchase, the person added, the bank will want the car insured and the insurance company often requires the buyer to have a license.
Then another blogger commented (see below)that you have to provide your driver’s license number when you renew your license tab each year. That sent me off again to Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing for an explanation.
He replied, “There are exemptions to the requirement to present your
driver license. At the time of renewal, you can declare that you are a
Washington resident but do not have a valid driver license and we will
still process the renewal. We also have an exemption for individuals who
are out of the area at the time of renewal.