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New Jersey Getting New, More Secure Driver’s Licenses

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New Jersey's old and new driver licences are seen at Newark Liberty International Airport - May 11, 2011 (credit: Levon Putney / WCBS 880)

New Jersey’s old and new driver licences are seen at Newark Liberty International Airport – May 11, 2011 (credit: Levon Putney / WCBS 880)

levon_feature Levon Putney
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EVESHAM, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey officials can tell you all about why they’re introducing a new digital driver’s license with enhanced security features.

WCBS 880′s Levon Putney: The New Licenses Will Look Almost Identical To The Old Ones


But what’s changed? Well, that’s a secret.

The new licenses have been tried out over the past few months, but starting Wednesday, everyone who gets a license will get one.

State Attorney General Paula Dow said there are some 25 “overt and covert” changes to the digital licenses first introduced in the state seven years ago to make them more secure. That means drivers probably won’t notice the difference between their current license and their next one.

Some details will be visible with the naked eye, some with magnifying glasses and some will require a black light. State Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez said changes could include differences in the background printing and intentional typos on the licenses – but don’t worry, names won’t be affected.

“We purposesly will put in a mistake somehwere in there so that law enforcement will know to look for a particular area on a license and if let’s say the E or the R is purposely done differently then they’ll know that that is an accurate driver’s license,” Martinez told 1010 WINS.

And, he said, they’ll eventually be able to be used by facial recognition software.

“It is really tamper resistant, there’s holograms, there’s ultraviolet features that law enforcement or TSA can look at under a black light, we’re using special equipment and know right away whether the document is a true document or false,” Martinez said.

Dow said law enforcement officials and others who need to know will be trained to recognize the changes – and to spot fraud.

The idea, both officials said, is to cut down on counterfeits that could be used by terrorists trying to get on planes, thieves seeking to steal information to commit financial crimes or minors who want to buy alcohol.

State Homeland Security Director Charles McKenna said the changes are important because licenses are such widely accepted identification.

With the changes, New Jersey is among the first wave of states to adopt the so-called enhanced digital licenses.

McKenna said it won’t be the last change.

“What we’ve got here is a situation is that generationally, these documents are going to evolve,” he said. “Counterfeiters are going to be able to catch up.”

He said there are persuasive fake versions of current digital licenses available now.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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