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Driver's licenses changing in fall
license sample
The state has released this sample license to show some of the changes.
Beginning in September, licenses issued to drivers younger than 21 will no longer sport a noticeable red border. Instead, a new vertical license card will be used to identify underage motorists.
In addition to curbing underage drinking, Georgia is overhauling its license format to stay in step with technology and prevent identity theft.
“If you can image how technology has changed over the last few years, it was time,” said Susan Sports, public information officer for the Department of Drivers Services.
The $40 million program begins in north Georgia in September, but it could be a couple months before drivers in Liberty County have the new cards.
The licenses will first be issued in Conyers, Covington and Locust Grove.
“If everything’s a go, with flying colors … it should roll out very rapidly,” Sports said. “It’s going to take several years before the [total] transition is complete.”
Besides a hard-to-duplicate design, every license will have a barcode on the back that can be swiped to retrieve a driver’s information. This should cut down on the need to fill out forms at banks and businesses, which can be a security risk.
“With improvement of technology, you always get increased security. We’re not asking for any additional information,” Sports said.
However, individuals are also responsible for safeguarding sensitive information, according to local attorney John Pirkle.
“They fall for it every day,” Pirkle said of scams where false companies ask people for sensitive information. “It’s just amazing what people will tell you if you just ask them.”
In the few cases of identity theft he has seen, Pirkle finds scammers usually open credit card accounts.
He said it takes being “a little sophisticated,” to catch scammers at their game.
“It’s the same game that’s been going on 1,000 years. There’s not thing new about it,” Pirkle said. “Unfortunately, the only way to protect yourself is for the individual to be somewhat vigilant.”
But government has a responsibility too, according to Pirkle. He cited the 2004 legislation that removed Social Security numbers on driver’s licenses.
“Since they’re demanding this information, they’ve got to take the steps to protecting it,” Pirkle said.
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