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Jacobs’ Calls on State to Require New Pictures for Driver’s License

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Says to spend millions on new Driver License technology without new photo makes no sense

Erie County, NY – As the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is preparing to roll out its new driver license, spending nearly $40 million over another vendor because of enhanced security features, Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs is calling on the New York State DMV to correct a serious flaw in their regulations. That flaw is the DMV will not require a person to obtain an updated picture when they get their new driver’s license.

Several months ago the New York State DMV announced they were awarding a contract to the top bidder, $38 million more than the next highest bidder, to produce the new state driver licenses for the next 8 years. Upon announcing the award, DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala said CBN Secure Technologies Inc. was awarded the bid because its security technology was far superior to the other bidders.

“Why should the state be spending all this money on new driver licenses with cutting edge technology when a person can have a photo on their license for almost two decades?…that doesn’t seem to be very logical when discussing improved security measures,” stated County Clerk Jacobs.

Jacobs said that using dated photos for a driver’s license can be dangerous because licenses are used for many other identification purposes beyond driving an automobile, such as boarding an aircraft, purchasing alcohol and for credit and financial transactions. “Just in the effort to combat minors using false ID to purchase alcohol and tobacco should be reason enough to demand updated photos every 8 years when someone renews,” said Jacobs. Both a U.S. Passport and NEXUS already require a new photograph upon renewal mentioned Jacobs, “So it makes sense to be consistent across the board.”

Erie County Clerk Jacobs conveyed his concerns to the DMV Commissioner in a January letter but has received no response. He plans on addressing the issue with all the County Clerks throughout the state at a Clerk’s Association meeting in June.  Jacobs said he is also reaching out to local members of the State Assembly and Senate about the need to reform this practice.  “If we don’t require an updated picture, let’s not waste taxpayer money on new driver licenses,” added Jacobs.

Several years ago the State DMV changed the renewal cycle from 5 years to 8 years. When renewing your license, there is no additional fee charged by the Auto Bureau for a new photo.