The Iowa Department of Transportation said it plans to pilot a smartphone driver’s license program that could one day make plastic licenses a thing of the past.
“It’s really moving beyond a static thing,” said Mark Lowe, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicles Division, in an interview with The Washington Post.
The concept is to not only host the license in an app, but to also be able to send push notifications about, say, traffic, or if a user’s license is about to expire, Lowe said. He said he is “not aware” of any other state that has a similar program.
A group of state employees that travels frequently for work will pilot the program in the next six months, and the department of transportation will determine the next steps for wider use, including giving Iowans the option to try to the smartphone license while waiting for their plastic version to arrive in the mail.
“I think for us right now, what we want to focus on is the option,” Lowe said.
The state will also have to educate officers, those who sell alcohol and tobacco, and the TSA to ensure that the licenses are recognized, but Lowe thinks digital licenses are the way of the future. People “really expect to use those mobile devices,” he said.
Iowa is one of more than 30 states that lets drivers show proof of insurance on their phone, according to the Des Moines Register.