Getting Oklahoma's new digital drivers license system online

Wednesday, November 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma’s new digital drivers license system is being rolled out in the Tulsa area.

It promises to be a faster, cheaper, better system for the state, but in the first weeks, it's hit a lot of snags. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

16 year old Sean Horner is at the tag office for his first drivers license. He's about to get one of the first digital licenses - if someone can get the new machines working. Sean had his picture made a couple of times, gave several fingerprints - and signed with an electronic pen. But the computer, well it's a computer and something isn't working.

Jeff Hankins with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety says once it works, it will work well. “It's going to be more secure, it will help prevent identity theft.” The system worked better for people just needing to renew. Barbara Ragsdale came in - had her picture made, paid her money and got a license in just a few minutes. She liked it. Same thing for Jimmy Crenshaw - in less than 5 minutes, he was done.

People from out of state had to use a different set up that just wasn't working. Christina Meek from Colorado waited four hours. “Long wait, getting it fixed, but that's OK.”

The new license has a bigger clearer picture. It has lots of features that make it hard to counterfeit. For drivers under 18 - the license is vertical to make it easy to spot someone under the drinking age.

The change makes Oklahoma's license as modern as those in the rest of the country.

The new technology is going out to all tag agencies in Tulsa County by the end of the week.

But drivers don't have a new digital license until their current license expires. Drivers licenses expire after four years - so it will take at least that long to get everyone changed over. If they don't get all the computers working, it could take longer than that.