Anti-theft driver's licenses to be available at end of year

Saturday, August 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Anti-identity theft driver's licenses will be available to Oklahomans by the end of the year, officials said.

The digital licenses will include the driver's finger image, making it difficult to use if stolen or to convert into a fake identification card, said Jeff Hankins, project manager in the Public Safety Department.

The finger scan won't produce an image like the one made when a finger is rolled over ink and no image of a fingerprint will be stored in the process, he said.

The finger scan will be converted into data that will be on file at DPS.

Hankins said the new license will be more secure than any other because of the special security features added to it plus the finger imaging.

The features in the new license will enable law officers to know quickly if a license is a counterfeit one, he said.

Only the Department of Public Safety will be able to access the digital finger information without a court order.

The license will contain additional bar codes with information that helps prevent unauthorized use of the license, Hankins said.

Eventually, law enforcement officers will have equipment in their patrol cars to scan the licenses to verify their legitimacy, he said.

On Aug. 25, tag agents and driver's license examiners will begin learning how to use it. The goal for having the equipment to tag agents is Dec. 31, Hankins said.

``It has made our people push to get it in place, but things are working well,'' Hankins said.

Oklahoma, Alaska and New Jersey are the only states that still have the Polaroid-based photo system, Hankins said.

The new equipment includes a video camera to replace the Polaroid-based photography system the state has used for many years, he said.

The state Legislature provided money two years ago by allocating a portion of the license fee to help pay for the new system.

An operator's license renewal fee of $20.50 will increase to $21.50 for the new license.