High-Security Driver’s License Receives Flaks From States

The Department of Homeland Security’s proposal for the Real ID system which will ensure that every state in the U.S. will have a high-security driver’s licensing system aimed to thwarting terrorism at airports and other strategic areas faces strong opposition from many states.

The Real ID system which is actually a national ID system instituted to combat terrorism will replace existing state driver’s licenses and will add something for its purpose.

States have been given until January 15 next year to comply with the new system. However, many expect that the said deadline will be extended again. But accordingly, states that won’t comply with the Real ID system will have their residents not being able to use their licenses as IDs to board planes, enter federal facilities or any other sensitive areas.

17 states have actually legislated laws to oppose their compliance with the Real ID system, with eight other states approving resolutions to oppose it. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), many of the states are not expected to comply on the federal mandate by the given deadline.

A study by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the National Governors Associations and the NCSL disclosed that the Real ID program will cost states around $11 billion for over five years. This is very far from what the Department of Homeland Security had estimated in 2008, which according to them will only cost a state no more than $3.9 billion to change their driver’s licenses.

The Real ID system will not only install tamper-prevention features in the driver’s licenses. It will also institutionalize stringent measures in applying for a driver’s license.

Many of the states had expressed concerns on the expenses in relation with the kind of material to be used for the new driver’s licenses.