The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is switching to a new driver’s license that officials say should reduce fake IDs, time spent at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and annual operating costs. The new licenses and new central issuance system for printing and managing state IDs should be ready by the end of the year. The new licensing system comes in tandem with a four-year DMV modernization plan, according to Scott Stokes, ITD’s deputy director.
“We are in the process of replacing the 30-year-old DMV system,” Stokes said. Alan Frew, ITD’s DMV administrator, said the new licenses and other renovations will vastly improve customer service and reduce time spent at the DMV, since customers won’t have to wait for cards to be printed and laminated. Under the new system, people would receive a temporary paper ID at the DMV, and then receive their permanent IDs in the mail. Twenty-three states already use the licensing system Idaho will have in place by the end of the year.
Idaho’s IDs haven’t been updated since 2002, and Stokes told lawmakers Tuesday that counterfeiters are catching up. “The new licenses will significantly improve internal controls and the security of personal information.”
The new centralized licensing system should save ITD roughly $284,000 a year, Stokes said, but won’t reduce staff at county offices that issue IDs. The switch to new licenses comes at the end of ITD’s contract with the company that maintains licensing equipment across the state, L-1. ITD decided to switch to the new system to print licenses at L-1’s out-of-state factory because it’s cheaper and creates more secure cards than signing a new contract to continue using ‘mini factories’ printing licenses at local DMVs, according to Ed Pemble, ITD’s driver services manager.
ITD has yet to settle on the design of the new license, but it will include new security features including digital watermarks, barcodes, and micro-text. Pemble said it would take millions of dollars for counterfeiters to reproduce the new IDs. ITD officials say current licenses are too easy to counterfeit. An ITD slideshow to lawmakers included a screenshot of one website selling fake IDs.
The recent fee increases for Idaho drivers’ licenses and vehicle titles are funding the DMV modernization fund, but not the new central issuance licensing system. ITD has briefed lawmakers, the governor, and law enforcement about the switch, but don’t need legislative approval to move forward with the new system.