Eye on Hospitality: Washington State Driver’s Licenses Get a Makeover

Eye on Hospitality: Washington State Driver’s Licenses Get a Makeover https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/driverslicense2017.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Keep an eye out for Washington state’s new driver’s licenses.

Business owners, who are required by law to prevent anyone under 21 from accessing alcohol, need to know that the state began issuing driver licenses and ID cards with new designs that do a better job protecting residents from identity theft than was done by the old licenses.  The cards not only look different, but also contain state-of-the-art security features, including fine-line printing and ultraviolet ink, for preventing fraud and identity theft.

“This new card system has incredible security features in it that will really decrease the amount of counterfeit cards that exist out in the world,” said Pat Kohler, director of the state’s Department of Licensing. “There’s just so much identity theft out there that it’s really important that we… protect the citizens of Washington state.”

While the new licenses and ID cards have a new look, their functions remain the same. The Enhanced Driver Licenses (salmon header) and Enhanced ID Cards (green header) can be used for all federal identification purposes, including entering secure federal facilities and, following the January 2018 federal compliance deadline, boarding domestic flights at commercial airports. Standard driver licenses (blue header) and ID cards (violet header) are still not valid for these federal purposes.

“[The Enhanced License] is a document that is more than a license or privilege to drive,” said Kohler. “It is your identification document. So, it does allow us to take advantage of technology that exists today to ensure that the identity of the person is secure [and] that the document is secure.”

Keep in mind that the look of temporary driver’s licenses has also changed. Temporary licenses issued in driver licensing offices are now being printed on a full sheet of paper instead of being a paper copy of the actual license. Significantly, the new temporary licenses no longer include a photo. Kohler believes removing the photo will make identity theft less likely.

“One of the major reasons for the change was that the [previous] temporary driver’s licenses [was] so similar to your original driver’s license that you get in the mail that it creates this false sense of security,” said Kohler. “People [were] relying on it as if it [was] an original document. It definitely is easier to create fraud using that temporary document. So, we wanted to move away from that to not [creating] the perception that it is an original document, and also to prevent fraud from happening.”

The state will roll-out the new cards during the course of the next several months.

“And sometime this summer, we [will] finish the roll-out at all of our 56 offices,” Kohler said.

flyer is available to help you learn more about these changes.

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