Could NJ Get Electronic Driver Licenses? Here, Officer, There’s an App for That
There is a pilot program underway in Iowa to test a driver license smartphone app — and several New Jersey lawmakers want the Garden State to be the second state to offer it.
A bill (S-2695) that passed the full State Senate in March of 2015 and is scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Transportation Committee on Thursday would direct the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, in consultation with the New Jersey Office of Information Technology, to prepare and submit to the governor and to the Legislature a report concerning the feasibility of electronic driver licenses in New Jersey.
“I’m hopeful that New Jersey could become the second state having an electronic driver’s license,” said bill co-sponsor, Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Jackson). “It’s very convenient. Today, we’re actually more likely to leave our wallet at home than we are our (cell) phone.”
Dancer admitted that he is among the many New Jersey resident to get a ticket after being pulled over by police only to discover he left his wallet at home, but he said he did have his phone.
The MDL app being tested in Iowa was produced by MorphoTrust, a company that already does business with the state of New Jersey. With the app, a person can change their address, update donor and veteran status and more. Dancer said the app would also cut down on trips to the MVC for New Jerseyans. The bill’s other sponsor agreed with Dancer.
“People can’t live without their phone. They check for it on their person every couple of seconds because they get a panic attack if they don’t think they have it on them,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton). “We use our cell phones so much for so many different transactions and we’re using it more and more for other types of I.D. Why not look into this?”
The test group in Iowa is using a downloadable iOS mobile app that requires identity verification before the MDL can be loaded into the phone. According to the company’s website, the app and verification process “meet the highest standards for security and protection of personal information.” The pilot program was designed to help test the app in a variety of identified use cases.
In order for the bill to land on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk in the very near future it would have to clear a committee Thursday and pass the full Assembly Monday because that’s the last day of the current legislative session. If that doesn’t happen, the measure would have to be re-introduced and go through the entire legislative process again.