NJ announces new, more secure driver's licenses

May 11, 2011 2:48:25 PM PDT
New Jersey is introducing a new digital driver's license with enhanced security features.

"This is the cutting edge form of the enhanced digital driver's license," New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow said.

Dow says it is a high tech way to stay one step ahead of criminals and terrorists. The new driver license contains 30 new security measures. Some we can see, but others we can't.

"It will include things like micro-printing. It will include things like purposeful errors," State Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez said.

Mistakes made in the micro-printing that someone trying to make a copy simply couldn't know about.

Nearly 10 years ago hijackers used fake ids to board aircraft at Newark International Airport. The consequences of that action are seared in our memories forever.

Dow said law enforcement officials and others who need to know will be trained to recognize the changes - and to spot fraud.

The idea, both officials said, is to cut down on counterfeits that could be used by terrorists trying to get on planes, thieves seeking to steal information to commit financial crimes or minors who want to buy alcohol.

State Homeland Security Director Charles McKenna said the changes are important because licenses are such widely accepted identification.

With the changes, New Jersey is among the first wave of states to adopt the so-called enhanced digital licenses.

McKenna said it won't be the last change.

"What we've got here is a situation is that generationally, these documents are going to evolve," he said. "Counterfeiters are going to be able to catch up."

He said there are persuasive fake versions of current digital licenses available now.

You will still need 6 points of identification to get a license, but you'll have it for 8 years with a renewal possible online after four instead of in person. Facial recognition software will be used at motor vehicle agencies to make sure you are who you say you are.

There are 39 MVA all across the state of New Jersey. They are all ready now to begin issuing these new licenses, it cost 19 million to get them ready and that's money spent before the facial recognition system goes online next year.

The new licenses have been tried out over the past few months, but starting Wednesday, everyone who gets a license will get one.

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