Digital driver licenses

Thursday, March 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

State lawmakers want to put your fingerprint on your driver's license.
They say that will cut down on people making and using fake IDs.
The bill has passed the house and now goes to the State Senate.

But as KOTV's Jenny McNeill says, not everyone is happy about this approach to fighting crime. Drivers license snapshots, it's a process that could soon be changing.

Here in Oklahoma, it's still done what is considered the old-fashioned way. We're one of only five states not yet using digital drivers license. Local tag agent, Jim Barnes says, "this system has worked quite well for a long time." Jim Barnes has run a tag agency for the past 15 years and says he doesn't like the change proposed in the legislature.

Lawmakers in the house passed a bill to change the license process and those in the senate will get a peak at it in the next couple of weeks. It would mean putting a fingerprint and a bar code on the license in an effort to cut back on fraud. But the idea has caused some problems. Barnes says, "some of the tag agencies I was told are going to stop issuing drivers licenses I was told because of the extensive paper work."

Some customers aren't too excited about it either. Paul Karlebach says, "sounds like it mught be a little complicated I kind of like the ways things are right now." Before the bill passed the house, higher fees were taken out, but several lawmakers say they expect the Senate to tack those fees back on to pay for the change. If the bill passes, your drivers license would still look similar to this except your information would be in the computer along with your fingerprints making machinges like this obselete. That's where an added cost comes in.

State lawmakers estimate it will cost about $6- million to change over the equipment and catch Oklahoma up with the majority of states already handing out digital drivers license.