Utah weighing digital driver’s license option

Posted at 7:35 PM, Sep 01, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Iowa recently launched a digital driver’s license that you can keep in your smart phone instead of carrying a paper license in your wallet. All you have to do is download an app. Now Utah is weighing the option of launching one. But officials say there are some concerns.

The new digital driver’s license looks just like a regular license – only it’s in your phone – and it has a rotating head on the photo, that officials say helps prevent duplication.

“We’re following the discussion very intently,” said Christopher Caras, director of the Utah Driver License Division. “It’s really a national discussion. This is new technology. Iowa is really kind of unique in that they are the first to put something out to actually test at any level.”

Some Utah residents say they think it would great if you ever go out and forget to take your license.

“Going to the bar, you want a drink, you have your phone, but you don’t have your ID, you know, kind of solves the problem for you,” said Salt Lake resident Ryan Moore.

But Sgt. Todd Royce with the Utah Highway Patrol says they would be worried about taking someone’s phone with them during a traffic stop.

“It could get dropped, could get broken,” Royce said. “You know, we don’t want that liability when, if it’s just a plastic card, it’s not as big of a concern for us.”

Utah law mandates police must take a person’s license if they’re driving under the influence.

“How are we going to do that unless there’s an actual physical license?” he said.

Other residents say they’re concerned about security issues.

“You lose your phone, or someone hacks into your phone, unless you have a security measure on top of this – I mean, I could see something like that, but maybe like a 2-factor authentication for your phone?” said Amber McNay, another Salt Lake resident. “But even with that, it still gets a little iffy.”

The director of the Utah Driver’s License Division says they are weighing the pros and cons before making a decision.

“Once we can get some real answers to the questions, then we’ll look into it,” Caras said. “See how the Legislature and other stake holders feel about whether it’s of value to the citizens or not.”

Once the Driver’s License Division works out all the kinks, they may launch a test run of the digital license here in Utah in the near future.