July 2003

Digital Driver Licenses
Finger Imaging

Issue Background

Because of heightened security needs and lack of a company to supply the film used in Oklahoma’s antiquated driver license system, the Legislature passed HB 2100 in 2000 to implement a digital image driver license and digital image identification system, beginning in August of 2003.

New cards will be issued under a Troop A pilot project on August 14th in Oklahoma City, August 21st in Jenks, and August 25th in Lawton. Statewide implementation of the new system is scheduled throughout 2003. Drivers will not be required to replace their current license until its expiration date but may choose early replacement upon payment of a $10 fee.

With the introduction of the digital image driver license system, Oklahoma will have one of the most secure cards in the nation. The advantages of the new system include increased fraud protection, added security features, machine-readable technology and increased readability. The new cards have several security features that include a ghost photo image imprinted over vital information to minimize alterations, a tamper resistant coating placed over the card and machine readable technology via a 2D and 1D barcode printed on the back of the card.

A major advantage of the digital driver license system will be the capability of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to maintain an electronic copy of a cardholder’s photograph. This technology advances Oklahoma’s ability to combat identity theft by allowing issuing personnel to verify photographs stored in the system with the applicants presenting themselves for new documents. In addition, finger imaging, authorized by SB 423 in 2003, will allow tag agents to verify that the person applying for a license is the same person who took the driver license examination.

Summary of Actions

HB 2100 (2000) - Digital Driver License Provisions

HB 2100 authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to implement a state-of-the-art driver license and identification card system, utilizing digital technology security features including digital finger scanning, photo and signature. The system is designed to:

  • reduce the possibility of identity theft or abuse,
  • deter under age drinking and purchase of tobacco products,
  • enable fast and accurate replacement of a lost or stolen driver license or identification card,
  • provide the state with a secure process for driver license or identification card renewal, and
  • provides law enforcement access to driver license photographs for identification purposes.

SB 423 (2003) - Finger Imaging Provisions

Identity theft is a major concern of law enforcement entities across the state. Since Oklahoma driver licenses are not issued by the same entity that tests the applicants, they are easier to falsify.

SB 423 requires the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) to require every applicant for a driver license to submit to finger scanning to ensure that the person who takes the driver license examination is the same person who applies at the motor vehicle tag agent’s office for the actual license. The bill limits access of state and federal law enforcement agencies, other than DPS, to information collected through the use of computerized finger imaging by requiring a court order, based upon the establishment of probable cause, to obtain such information. The bill’s provisions will go into effect on July 1, 2004.

Contact For More Information:
Jeri Trope
Legislative Analyst
(405) 521-5693
Suzanne Broadbent
(405) 521-5570

Prepared By: Jeri Trope
The Oklahoma State Senate, Senate Staff
Senator Cal Hobson, President Pro Tempore