NY State Drivers Licenses Going Black and White

State officials say it will help thwart forgeries in counterfeit markets.

Beginning in July, New York State will change the look of its drivers’ licenses in a move to reduce forgeries that lead to identity theft, underage drinking and possible terrorist attacks, The New York Times reported.

Officials say that the new production method – laser engraved in grayscale on rigid polycarbonate – and a bevy of other subtle feature changes will make the licenses virtually impossible to forge.

“We see the New York driver’s license as the first line of defense,” said J. David Sampson, executive deputy commissioner of the State Department of Motor Vehicles.

The portraits on each license will change from color to black and white. Personal data will be engraved and a small “ghost image” portrait of the driver will float in a transparent window and will be visible from the front and the back. The new cards will be so stiff, they sound like a compact disc when dropped.

New York is the second state to adopt this technology. The first was Virginia in 2009. Pam Goheen, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, said that since the change, the department had not seen a “credible” forgery of a Virginia license and any attempts at counterfeiting so far have looked “awful.”

New York State officials said they expect these multiple layers of changes together will make for a solid, monolithic new driver’s license that “cannot be tampered with.”


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