Arkansas installs digital driver's license system

Arkansas has installed a digital driver's license system that makes the licenses more difficult to duplicate, and that will help law enforcement crack down on under-age drivers as well as sales of liquor and tobacco to minors.

The $10.4 million system, which also is issuing Medicaid cards, was developed and installed at 160 locations statewide by Littleton, Mass.-based Viisage Technology Inc., taking less than a year to complete.

"We are happy with the new system," said Michael Munns, administrator of the Arkansas Office of Driver Services. "We think they look better and are more secure than the old system."

Unlike traditional cards, in which photos are pasted on and laminated, the photos and text on the new cards are generated digitally and pressed right onto the card itself. This means the cards cannot be altered without being destroyed, said Tom Colatosti, president and chief executive officer at Viisage. "They are very resistant to tampering and altering, and they are stored online, so if someone loses a card, it's easily replaced."Colatosti said Viisage system are being used in 11 other states, including Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico and North Carolina. The company is in contract negotiations with another state and is bidding for two more, he said.

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