This month, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) unveiled new drivers’ licenses and identification cards designed with security in mind. But in the past month, the photo identification technology associated with the new cards has caused a string of system crashes.
“We had to get new camera equipment installed in the field offices,” said Jan Mendoza, a DMV spokesperson. “Just like with any kind of new system, we got bugs.”
The installations and identification system glitches at various DMV offices have led to rolling closures, she added. Motorists were turned away if they came to some offices when the systems were offline.
After the new identification system was installed in July, DMV records show that the system went down statewide the entire day of Sept. 8 and for three hours the following morning, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A second statewide meltdown reportedly occurred Sept. 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
These expected technology transition hiccups appear to be over. According to Mendoza, “We haven’t had an issue since Oct. 4.”
The new cards mark the first major revision of California drivers’ licenses and identification cards since 2001. Equipped with the latest in document security technology, DMV officials say, the cards have several features to protect against fraud, tampering and counterfeiting.
In addition to new vertical identifications for residents younger than 21, other security features include:
- a hidden photograph of the cardholder seen only by ultraviolet light;
- the cardholder’s signature and date of birth on raised lettering; and
- perforations in the shape of a California brown bear that can be seen when the card is held up to light.
“The new security features, coupled with advanced technology, make California driver licenses and identification cards one of the most secure identification documents in the country,” said DMV Director George Valverde in a statement. “We are confident that they will be well received by residents, businesses and law enforcement officials.”
Valverde also noted that the DMV offers many services online for motorists who want to avoid field offices.