Louisiana revs up electronic driver’s licenses
- By Derek Major
- May 06, 2016
Louisiana is making a push to become the first state to offer motorists an electronic copy of their state driver’s license.
House Bill 481 would give drivers the ability to access their digitized license through a smartphone app offered by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The bill was approved last month by the Louisiana House Transportation Committee and will go to the full House for approval.
Even if the bill passes, drivers in the state would be required to carry a hard copy of their licenses while operating a vehicle. Many other states are also considering digitizing driver’s licenses, including Illinois, Massachusetts and Iowa.
The electronic copy of the driver’s license is “just added protection for that person who may have lost it… 99 percent of the time, you will find your phone before your driver’s license,” Karen St. Germain, commissioner of the Office of Motor Vehicles, told The Advocate. Motorists who want an electronic version will pay between $3 and $5 for the app.
To protect smartphone users’ privacy, the bill prohibits law enforcement officials from randomly searching an iPhone or other device that carries the driver’s license app.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.