More Secure State Driver’s Licenses Raise Eyebrows in Florida

Anti-fraud protections embedded in the identification has some questioning their authenticity.

by Cleveland Tinker, The Gainesville Sun / November 16, 2017
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(TNS) –– Banks, businesses and agencies that require people to present picture identification should be aware that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has changed the look of its state-issued licenses and ID cards.

The change occurred in Alachua County last week, and the Alachua County Tax Collector's Office, which handles the issuance of state-issued licenses and ID cards in the county, wants people to know the different-looking cards are here.

"Last week, one of our employees who had the new driver's license went to a bank to do a transaction, and the teller was suspicious of the new look of the driver's license," said John Power, Alachua County tax collector.

The Alachua County Tax Collector's Office, like other tax collector offices throughout the state, began issuing driver licenses and IDs in 2013 after being mandated to merge with state division of driver license's offices by the Florida Legislature.

The new cards, meant to be more secure, began being issued around the state in August. Last week, new printers to make them were installed in the three tax collector's offices in Alachua County at 12 SE First St., 3837 Windmeadows Blvd. and 5801 NW 34th St., all in Gainesville.

The printers are equipped with secure technology that can't be duplicated and prevents criminals from creating fake IDs, Power said.

His office handles about 60,000 state-issued license and ID card transactions annually, Power said.

According to officials with the department of motor vehicles, the new card design has nearly double the fraud-protection measures compared to the previous design, ultraviolent ink and pictures that can only be seen by tilting the card.

State residents are only required to replace their current driver license or ID card if the the cards have reached their expiration date or a change is needed, such as name or address, Power said.

The new driver licenses will feature colors denoting the type of license the customer holds, such as a regular license or a learner's permit. Licenses issued to those under 21 will have a red box on the front highlighting the date the person will cease being under 21.

The new design also has designations for boaters, the deaf and hard of hearing and developmentally disabled, lifetime boater, hunting, freshwater and saltwater licenses, as well as for organ donors and veterans.

Also, the new driver license and ID card will identify sexual predators and offenders with a distinguishing blue mark on the bottom right front. Sexual predators will have "Sexual Predator" spelled out, while sexual offenders will have "943.0435 F.S." on their cards.

Florida last updated the design of its driver license and ID cards in 2003, and the new versions will use the latest technology to safeguard personal information, Power said.

There is no change in how state-issued ID cards and licenses are obtained. However, the new cards won't be available online at www.gorenew.com until January.

The federal government in 2005 passed the REAL ID Act that set new standards for the issuance of driver licenses and ID cards. The law went into effect in 2008 nationwide, and Florida began issuing REAL ID-compliant cards in 2010. They have a star in the upper right hand corner of the card.

"Security is the main reason behind the new credentials," Power said.

©2017 The Gainesville Sun, Fla. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.