The Washington Post

D.C. driver’s licenses are getting a new look

The new design swaps a background Capitol photo for cherry blossoms. (D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles)

Starting in November, the District’s driver’s licenses and identification cards are going to be sporting a new look — one quite a bit more subtle than the red-white-and-blue design that’s reigned for about a decade.

The new design, above, will be accompanied by a new process, said Department of Motor Vehicles Director Lucinda Babers. While currently you can walk into a DMV location and walk out with a license, starting Nov. 26, license applicants will wait about two weeks to receive their new license or ID card in the mail. During the wait, they will be given a 45-day temporary paper license.

The new process is due to new security features — in particular, Babers said, laser-engraved photographs that require bulky and expensive equipment that would not be practicable to place in every DMV location. The licenses will instead be produced off site by the city’s new contractor, Marquis ID Systems.

The new design, Babers added, is compliant with newer interstate standards on the placement of photos, vital information and machine-readable bar codes. The background replaces a photo of the capitol building with a fine-grain image of cherry trees in bloom.

Also “ghosted” in the background is the District seal. But not appearing anywhere on the license is the city’s iconic flag, bearing the Washington family arms.

“When people tend to try to counterfeit licenses. It’s easier to put three bars and two stars than to try to do the seal,” Babers said.

And here’s the back. (D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles)
Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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