MATT GOURAS Associated Press Writer HELENA
Montana's driver's license is getting a big makeover aimed at making it one of the most secure driver's licenses. State officials unveiled the license Tuesday touting the license's multiple colors, duplicate photos, textured surface, hidden images and an easily noticed change to identify those too young to buy alcohol. The license will start replacing the old license this month, said Dean Roberts, administrator of the Motor Vehicle Division. The new card will be handed out when people renew a current license or get one for the first time. Roberts said Montana followed recommendations from a national umbrella group of license administrators, which in turn became many of the standards adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of its Real ID push. Roberts said Montana's early move to secure its license with new identity theft features allowed Montana to tell Homeland Security earlier this year that the state's license was already moving toward enhanced features. "Real ID just adopted the standards that the states had set for themselves with the national umbrella group," Roberts said. "We will be the first state to have this much security in a card." The license features a new surface of microscopic glass beads that cannot be peeled away without destroying the images and information on the license, making it nearly impossible for people to alter a license, Roberts said. It has dozens of other features, including a digital strip on the back that holds the card information. Police officers will have readers in their cars to scan the license, Roberts said. It also has a hidden pick and Shovel that only shows up under ultraviolet light, and another image that only shows up when the license is backlit. Licenses for those under 21 years old are oriented vertically, rather than horizontally, to make them easier to identify. Information, such as date of birth, shows up in multiple places on the license and the license features a duplicate, smaller, photo in the lower corner. "It's not your typical plastic card," Roberts said.