Indiana Launches More Secure Drivers License

Cards feature embedded digital enhancements to help battle ID theft and tampering.

by / June 6, 2007

Governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles today unveiled a new driver license and identification card that will help battle identify theft, card tampering and detection of underage drinking through use of innovative technology.

The cards feature a number of embedded digital enhancements to ensure authenticity, some detectable only with a black light, and a 2D barcode on the back with embedded redundant data from the front of the card. The new design will include the state map in the header and state seal overlapping the state map in the background. Each card is laminated with a tamper resistant coating and contains an optically variable pattern scattered over the surface. A vertical format will be issued for those under 21 years of age, with the dates the recipient turns age 18 and 21 highlighted in color. The portraits and signatures are both digital and will be stored in a permanent database in order to verify identification. A ghost portrait is also included as a further verification of authenticity.

"This innovation brings protection against fraud, identity theft, and underage drinking and smoking, all while saving millions of dollars. It's another step toward the BMV Hoosiers deserve," said Daniels.

BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver said the new licenses will result in a total cost savings of $2.5 million during the six-year contract period. Each current license costs about $1.27 to produce. The cost to produce the new license will be 99 cents per card. The enhanced system provides new equipment and software for all license branch locations -- more than 200 workstations and camera towers and new, secure, state-of-the-art printers -- all included in the per card transaction fee.

Of all the advantages of the new card, Stiver emphasized the security improvements of the new system as paramount, citing the Indiana State Police for its collaboration and input to identify the data features needed on the card that most effectively aid law enforcement efforts.

"We have worked with the BMV on the security features of the new driver license, which will make it easier for all law enforcement officers to detect fraudulent identifications," said Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell.

The enhanced licenses should also help Indiana prepare for anticipated security requirements of the federal Real ID Act, which establishes minimum nationwide security standards for driver licenses and other state-issued identification documents. Indiana, like many other states, is already enhancing the security and efficiency of our processes as well as the security and quality of state-issued identity credentials. Indiana's latest enhancements will help our state prepare for the still-to-be-finalized security requirements of the federal Real ID Act. The law establishes physical security requirements for the cards, such as making them machine-readable; it sets requirements for proving one's identity at the time of application or renewal; and it requires states to verify certain information about applicants.

Gina M. Scott Writer