Arlington, VA – January, 14, 2002 – Today the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ (AAMVA) Task Force on ID Security announced its recommendations for strengthening and unifying inconsistencies in the North American driver’s license issuance process.
As the issuers of the document that is the domestic ID of choice for Americans and Canadians, albeit never formally recognized as such, DMV administrators are banding together to close loopholes in the current driver licensing framework.
“Our driver’s license has become the most requested form of identification,” said Betty Serian, chair, AAMVA’s ID Security Task Force. “Because the American people depend on this one card, AAMVA has a responsibility and obligation to do whatever it can to enhance the security of this document to improve public safety and national security.”
Currently each state has its own set of rules for issuing ID credentials. This lack of uniformity has resulted in a mixed bag of exploitable processes and procedures such as different definitions of residency and more than 200 different, valid forms of identification issued by states in circulation today.
Without a more uniform process for issuing driver’s licenses, DMV officials warn that individuals will continue to exploit the system by shopping around for licenses in states that have become the weakest link.
“Unscrupulous individuals shop for the easiest and fastest way to get a license,” said Serian. “They find the loopholes and they put you and me at risk. And without changes to our current business practices, we cannot be assured that everyone presenting a driver’s license is who they say they are.”
The association also recommends more uniform practices for serving U.S. visitors.
Without these measures, a non-U.S. citizen who obtains a driver’s license may remain mobile within U.S. borders long after their visa has expired.
Officials say a key element in enhancing the security of the driver licensing process centers on the people: the customer receiving the document, and the employees issuing the document. The association believes the current penalties for fraud need to be stronger and regularly enforced.
“We need stiffer penalties for all individuals committing identity fraud,” said Linda Lewis, AAMVA President and CEO. “And we seek a stronger system of checks and balances for detecting those who do.”
AAMVA is in a unique position to be a driving force for positive change in ID security. But this nationwide effort to enhance the issuance of secure identification credentials will require nationwide changes. In order for AAMVA to move forward with their recommendations, they are seeking support from a number of groups, including Congress.
Congressional legislation and funding for the Driver Record Information Verification System (DRIVerS) will allow state agencies and federal agencies to share already collected driver information. Association officials believe DRIVerS will make a number of improvements in identity verification, privacy protection and highway safety.
“We also need partnerships with other associations, privacy groups, and most importantly, a commitment from the American people,” said Lewis. “These supportive relationships are vital in establishing one driver, one license, one identity, and a more secure nation.”
The AAMVA is a non-profit association representing chief motor vehicle administrators and law enforcement officials in North America.
Contact: Jason King