Louisiana motorists no longer need to carry their physical license at all times.
The state has recently launched a digital driver’s license that can be downloaded on smartphones across the state.
By adopting new technology, LA sets a new parameter in the management of government documentation and identification from the use of a mobile device.
Ted James, a state legislator from Baton Rouge, introduced the bill in 2016 to let drivers benefit from the use of digital driver’s licenses.
According to James, this movement exclusively focuses on technology, which also adheres to the interest in service improvements from the state’s commissioner of motor vehicles in regards to license applications.
As part of the process, the bill was passed about two years ago.
Then Envoc, a private company specialized in software development, took another year to create the app.
Once the development phase was completed, the new digital driver’s license was officially launched in July 2018.
James also added:
“The first thing is folks want to be able to use it for everything. I still encourage people to have a physical driver’s license, because it’s not mandated that other entities accept it, outside of law enforcement.”
Transitioning from plastic cards to digital licenses
The digital driver’s license, which can be accessed from a smartphone, represents an acceptable and legal document for law enforcement agents in the state.
It has also been regarded as an approved “digital credential” by the LA Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
This means that users could use this form of identification to purchase alcohol and tobacco.
Yet there are still some challenges on the horizon in regards to its legitimacy.
For instance, airport security checks and some retailers are still on the dark about digital driver’s license, which delays positive results.
This suggests that drivers are still encouraged to carry both, digital licenses and physical licenses.
Getting the virtual license from a mobile device
To access a virtual license, motorists first need to download the LA Wallet app.
Then pay $5.99 to get the license on the app.
Currently, around 77,000 users access the app through their phones, with approx. 41,000 who already have activated the virtual license choice.
Calvin Fabre, founder and president of Envoc, commented:
“Now, this is before any major marketing. We will be starting a big campaign in 2019 to build awareness.”
Louisiana appears to be distancing from other players in the development of digital driver’s license owing to their interest in technology.
Some other states such as Iowa, Colorado, Idaho, and Maryland, along with the District of Columbia, have made considerable improvements on digital driver’s licenses, but there’s still a lot of progress to make to achieve implementation.
Fabre also mentioned that the digital driver’s license also comes with a VerifyYou feature.
This new feature allows other entities and people to verify the validation of the digital license with the DMV in real time.
“The app will also do that with a physical printed license, which means that I can now scan a physical hard license with my app, and that can go back to the DMV, and verify you in real time. So now we’re doing real-time identity verification, using the app, even with the old-school license. “It could also be used to verify someone who shows up at your house to perform a service,”
Future benefits will also include: cooperation with other states to develop and accept digital licenses from Louisiana, and the ability to improve validation of certain products that require age-verification such as alcohol and tobacco.
“We think that this is going to help us pioneer alcohol delivery with Waitr and Uber Eats. So imagine you’re ordering a pizza to be delivered to your house, maybe through Domino’s or Waitr or Uber Eats. And you want a bottle of wine to go with it.”