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New Jersey Introduces New Driver’s License


In an effort to cut down on criminal activity and beef up homeland security, the Garden State is adopting new – more advanced – driver’s licenses.

New Jersey is changing its driver’s license once again.

The state is trying to make it tougher for criminals and even terrorist to make counterfeit licenses by producing them with more than 25 new security features. New Jersey officials unveiled their latest evolution and next generation of licenses Wednesday.

The new Enhanced Digital Driver License – or EDDL – was made with generally undetectable security features that New Jersey does not want counterfeiters to know about. Raymond Martinez, chief of the State’s Motor Vehicle Commission, was hush-hush about specific features, but confident the new licenses would be nearly impossible to reproduce.

“They include overt features. That’s something you can see, like the pattern in the background of the license,” Martinez explained in a phone interview. “It would also include covert features, something that’s not visible to the naked eye. [Law enforcement] would use either a black light or magnifying glass to see those features.” Perhaps the most advanced feature Martinez disclosed was the EDDL’s forensic capabilities, where only a trip to the crime lab could identify the license’s validity.

The extensive new security features are not simply technological overkill, given New Jersey’s unfortunate past run-ins with forged documents. The terrorists responsible for 9/11 used counterfeits. Along with California, Virginia and Florida counterfeits, they also used fraudulent New Jersey driver’s licenses.

This is a major reason why New Jersey is blazing the trail for license security. Martinez said the memory of that day was a major motivation for New Jersey officials, “we were uniquely impacted by 9/11, and we haven’t lost sight of how important this is… we need to be leaders for other states.”

And they have been. In 2004, they introduced the current digital licenses, which were a major step from the easily forged licenses used by the terrorists. In 2012, Martinez says the state plans to implement facial recognition technology to make it even tougher to get a phony license.

New Jerseyans can expect their new licenses immediately. Martinez said everyone in the state is being issued an EDDL “as we speak.”