Public & Military Transportation
Sea-Tac Airport is the major transport hub for air travelers en route to JBLM. It is located approximately 35 miles north of the military base. To view transportation options between JBLM and Sea-Tac Airport visit http://www.portseattle.org/Sea-Tac/Parking-and-Transportation/ Ground-Transportation. The Kitsap Airporter offers daily shuttle service between JBLM and Sea- Tac Airport. For rates and schedules, call (360) 876-1737. Reservations can also be made at: www.kitsapairporter.com.
AMTRAK ticketing, scheduling and reservations service is available by calling (800) USA-RAIL, (800) 872-7245.
Pierce Transit offers service on base near the Main Gate on bus route 300 from the base to South Tacoma Way and the Tacoma Mall Transit Center. For information about bus routes, rates, schedules and car/van pools, call (253) 581-8000 or visit www.piercetransit.org.
For Airmen on JBLM on TDY, the base taxi service is available by calling (253) 982-2685. Taxi services are available in and around JBLM and Lakewood; c
all Pacific Northwest Dispatch Taxi service at (253) 589-1000 or (253) 582-3000. Metered rates (on and off base) are $3.75 on flag drop and $2.25 per mile thereafter for one to five passengers. Wait time is 50 cents per minute.
Military Airlift Command flights are available from McChord Field for active-duty military and eligible Reserve component military. For recorded information on the next day’s flights, call (253) 982-7268. For more detailed information, call (253) 982-7259.
While stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, military members must possess valid driver’s licenses. Service members who are Washington state residents or claim Washington state as home-of-record must possess Washington state driver’s licenses; others may possess valid driver’s licenses from any state, including their home-of-record state or territory. Territory licenses acceptable in Washington are those from Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Some states have moratorium laws. If you had a valid license when you entered the service, it may continue to be valid as long as you are on active duty. Check with your state to make sure this provision applies to you. When your license is due to expire, or if it has already expired, write or call your issuing state department of licensing to notify them that you are in the military and are stationed out of state. They will explain their state requirements to keep your license valid. Don’t assume the military clause is automatic. There are no automatic military extensions for any territory license.
Spouses of military service members assigned to JBLM who will have children enrolled in the public school system or who will be receiving public assistance (e.g., food stamps) or wish to apply for in-state tuition fees must apply for a Washington state driver’s license within 30 days of arrival. You are considered a Washington resident when you establish a home in the state, register to vote, receive state benefits, apply for any state license or seek in-state tuition fees.
The Department of Licensing has more than 60 offices throughout Washington where drivers are tested and licenses are issued. Check your phone book under “Licensing, Department of Licensing” for the one nearest you.
Washington driver’s licenses, renewable every four years, are $45. For your first Washington license, there is an additional $20 examination fee. There are additional fees and examinations for motorcycle endorsements and commercial driver’s licenses. For more information check out the following website: www.dol.wa.gov/
Upon arrival in Washington state, service members are allowed to keep the state license plates that are currently displayed on their vehicles. This includes license plates from U.S. territories. Upon expiration of that license plate, the Soldier must obtain a Washington state or home-of-record license plate. Vehicles with USAREUR, NATO or USA registration/plates have 30 days (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) to obtain either Washington or home-of-record plates.
Washington has a staggered licensing system: Plates are valid 12 months from the date of purchase. The nearest licensing office is located at 10102A Bristol Ave. SW, Lakewood (253-588-7786), and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other locations: 16126 Meridian East, Suite 107, Puyallup (253-841-0245); 215 South Garfield St., Suite 1A, Tacoma (253-537- 3112); and 331 Washington Ave. S, Kent (253-852-3110). The office of the Pierce County Auditor will be glad to answer any questions about vehicle registration. It is located at 2401 S. 35th St., Room 200, Tacoma (253-798-3649). For 24-hour information, call (253) 798-3649.
You can purchase plates in Pierce, Thurston or King counties. Private companies authorized by the state to issue license plates can be found in the yellow pages.
When purchasing Washington state license plates, you can submit a Washington State Form L, an affidavit that you are a military nonresident. Form L exempts you from excise tax, but you might have to pay other taxes if you register your car in Washington. These are known as either a “sales tax” or “use tax,” depending on how long you have owned your car.
Washington has one of the country’s largest and most scenic ferry systems with more than 23 craft on Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Columbia River. The ferry system offers an inexpensive way to see the Sound, from one-day trips to weekend or longer excursions. Cruise through the San Juan Islands, a group of more than 170 islands dotting northern Puget Sound, or travel up to Canada. For schedules, rates and travel ideas, stop by the Leisure Travel Center on base, call toll-free (800) 843-3779, or write: Washington State Ferries, 2901 Third Ave., Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98121.
Drinking & Driving
Washington has some of the country’s toughest drinking and driving laws, and they are enforced on and off base. The severity of punishment for a driving while impaired (DWI) conviction depends on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, whether you’ve had other DWI convictions (anywhere) and your age.
Police officers will normally cite for DUI when an individual’s driving appears impaired — regardless of the BAC level. At a minimum, if you receive a DUI on or off base, you will automatically lose your driving privileges on the installation for a period of one year.
Designated Driving Programs
The JBLM community has multiple programs to help impaired drivers. The responsible choice is to DRIVE SOBER or GET OTHER TRANSPORTATION and insist fellow service members, family members and friends do the same.
The Airmen Against Drunk Driving program (253-982-AADD) offers all military ID card holders a free ride home. The Better Opportunities for Single Service Members program offers free transportation for intoxicated Soldiers. Volunteers drive weekends transporting intoxicated Soldiers from clubs on base. Call (253) 208-9169 for a safe ride, no questions asked, on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Soldiers, Airmen and Department of Defense civilians must register their vehicles on base and obtain DOD registration decals within five days of arrival. If your vehicle was registered at another military installation, no action is required on your part. Decals are not issued with an expiration date at JBLM. The decal is valid for access as long as it is legible.
Vehicle Registration is conducted at several locations on JBLM. These include: The Vehicle and Weapons Registration Section at Building 2140, Waller Hall, which is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (253) 967-1914; the Pass & Registration Office in Building 100 on McChord Field, which is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., (253) 982-2256; at the McChord Field Visitor Center, which is open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily, (253) 982-2588; and at the Lewis Visitor Center from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends, (253) 967-4794.
If you have questions related to either vehicle or weapons registration services, the phone number to the main registration office, which is located at Waller Hall, is (253) 967-1914. Required documentation includes current permanent vehicle registration, a valid driver’s license, military ID and proof of accident liability insurance. In accordance with the Federal Clean Air Act, all vehicles five to 25 years old and routinely operated on Joint Base Lewis- McChord must pass an emissions test. The emissions test results must also be presented when registering a vehicle. This requirement applies regardless of the state or county in which the vehicle is registered. Exceptions to the requirement to present an emission certificate include:
• Vehicles registered within a Washington State area (determined by the zip code on the registration) that do not require emissions testing
• Military retirees who do not work or reside on the installation
• Hybrid vehicles with an EPA city fuel economy rating of at least 50 MPG • Motorcycles and mopeds
For information regarding emission requirements, system inspection locations and cost, call (800) 453-4951.
The name of persons applying for DOD registration must appear on the state registration certificate for the vehicle, or the registrant must have a power of attorney from the registered owner. DOD registration decals are accountable items that must be removed from the vehicle upon sale or transfer of the vehicle or termination of military service. Sale or transfer must be reported to the Vehicle Registration Section. The registrant will be asked to return the decal or sign a statement that the decal was removed and destroyed.
Any eligible person from either branch of service can register at any location during the hours of operation
Any privately owned weapon being brought onto any portion of JBLM for any reason is required to be registered with the Directorate of Emergency Services. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Persons registering a weapon must complete HJB Form 816, and all service members must have their commander’s signature on the form.
Weapons registration is performed at all locations that conduct vehicle registration. For Airmen residing in the dorms, the weapons must be stored in the Armory, Building P21, (253) 982-5142. Soldiers residing in the barracks are required to store their weapon in their unit Arms Room. Service members residing in family quarters may store the weapon in the quarters.
Weapons can only be carried in a vehicle when traveling to and from authorized hunting, target practice, matches or offpost locations. When transporting weapons, they must be secured in the vehicle’s trunk or, if the vehicle doesn’t have a lockable trunk, encased in such a manner that the weapon is not readily accessible to the driver or passengers.
Weapons must be transported unloaded and ammunition must be stored separately from the weapon. The registration form must be readily available at all times while a weapon is located on JBLM property. When entering JBLM, vehicle occupants are required to declare the presence of any firearms in the vehicle.
Concealed weapon permits are not valid on JBLM.
A bicyclist is required to comply with the same safe driving rules as motorists. In addition, bicyclists must:
• Keep to the extreme side of the roadway.
• Wear a bicycle helmet.
• Carry no more passengers than there are seats available.
• Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
• Have headlights and taillights or reflectors.
• Have adequate brakes.
• Never perform stunts on the streets or highways.
• Secure bicycles when not in use.
The Provost Marshal also strongly recommends that all bicycles be registered at the Vehicle Registration Office.
Motorcycle or moped (vehicles with engine sizes 50cc and larger) operators must have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s licenses. JBLM requires motorcycle operators to complete a DODapproved foundation safety course prior to registering their motorcycle on the installation. Motorcyclists are required to wear protective clothing and equipment including:
• DOT-approved helmet.
• Eye protection.
• Long-sleeved shirt/jacket and full-length trousers.
• Full-fingered gloves.
• Over-the-ankle boots/shoes.
• Reflective and highly visible material on the upper body. Service members must wear a PT belt or a full upperbody vest made of reflective material.
The speed limit on JBLM-Lewis is 25 mph, unless posted otherwise. When passing military formations, it is 10 mph. In family housing areas, the limit is 20 mph. Washington state law and base regulations require the use of seat belts at all times while riding in a car. Children under age 4 or less than 40 pounds must be restrained in an approved child-safety seat. This provision is strictly enforced at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The speed limit on McChord Field is 35 mph, unless posted otherwise. In Family housing areas the speed limit is 20 mph and 10 mph in all parking lots.
Additionally, vehicle operators on all DOD installations and operators of governmentowned vehicles are not authorized to use cell phones unless the vehicle is safely parked or they are using a hands-free device.
Washington state recently enacted a similar hand-held cell phone ban for all drivers. The wearing of any other portable headphones, earphones or other listening devices (except for hands-free cellular phones) while operating a motor vehicle is prohibited. Use of those devices impairs driving and masks or prevents recognition of emergency signals, alarms, announcements, the approach of vehicles and human speech.
Seat Belt Law
Washington seat belt law allows a law enforcement officer to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle when one or more of the occupants are observed not wearing a seat belt.
Passengers 16 years of age and older are responsible for themselves. Children under 13 years old need to be transported in the back seat. Children up to their 8th birthday, unless they are 4’9” tall (whichever comes first), must ride in a child restraint system. All car seat and restraint systems must be installed and used correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.