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Lawmaker calls for transportation department to issue electronic driver’s licenses

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There would be one less reason to carry a wallet if a state lawmaker succeeds in allowing Arizonans to carry their driver’s licenses on wireless devices.

Sen. Jeff Dial, R-Chandler, authored legislation that would require the Arizona Department of Transportation to create electronic driver’s licenses. SB1237 also says that when producing the license for law enforcement a driver wouldn’t be consenting to a search of any other information on the device.

The bill has won endorsements from the Senate Transportation and Appropriations committees, sending to the Senate floor by way of the Rules Committee.

Dial said he expects electronic driver’s licenses to be commonplace within the next three years. States like Iowa have already adopted this idea, he noted.

“So much of what you carry now, whether it’s your credit cards … it’s all available electronically,” he said. “Next time I go climb Camelback or go to the gym I won’t have to worry about carrying my wallet with me.”

Dial authored a 2012 law that allows insurance cards to be displayed on an electronic devices.

He said he came up with the idea for an electronic driver’s license a couple years ago during a meeting at which PayPal executives were discussing the company’s new mobile app.

Dial said the Arizona Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles liked the idea and suggested the language in his bill.

MorphoTrust USA is the vendor Dial and ADOT are collaborating with to develop the app.

Jenny Openshaw, vice president at Morpho Trust USA, said technology holds lot of promise for identity credentials.

“More people are likely to leave their wallet at home than their cellphone,” she said. “This move reflects the general public, and is not something to be afraid of.”

Openshaw said she thinks drivers will initially receive a plastic card with the option of gaining access to the electronic driver’s license app. There will be a period of time when drivers will carry both of these items, she said.

“We don’t know how fast that evolution will be,” she said. “That is still to be determined.”

Dial said there would be security features added to the app that will make it even more secure than a physical driver’s license.

“It will have a security certificate, and it will only show up and be visible for about 15 minutes,” he said.