If you decide to visit an airport sometime soon, your home state might be the source of some future inconvenience to you. Eights states currently issue driver’s licenses that will no longer be able to pass TSA-checkpoints in airports. Residents from Maine, Minnesota, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Montana, Washington, and Missouri will be required to produce an alternate form of identification at TSA-checkpoints.
If you live in one of these states, there are still several different forms identification you can use. For example a passport, a military ID, or a permanent resident card can get the job done. However, many folks don’t carry these forms of identification around. Not being able to use a driver’s license is going to be a real drag for possibly hundreds of thousands of people.
Thankfully, people living the states mentioned above will have ample time to prepare. The new rule barring the use of driver’s licenses from these states won’t go into effect until January 22, 2018. Signs are already being posted at airports to alert travelers of the upcoming change. This should give people plenty of time to obtain or renew a passport.
After learning about the upcoming change, many people are curious as to know why these particular driver’s licenses will not longer be valid forms of identification. The reasoning behind the new rule is actually rather simple. Security experts looked at the design of each driver’s license issued from each state. They also examined the process of issuing all of these different driver’s licenses. Experts concluded that the driver’s licenses issued from the above states failed to meet the federal government’s minimum security standards.
According to experts, a driver’s license should be produced with anti-counterfeit technology to make it difficult for people to create fake ones in a factory or basement. Also, experts believe a driver’s license should be issued through a process of verifying the identity of each and every applicant. It is also expected that background checks should be done on the people responsible for issuing driver’s licenses to fellow citizens. The driver’s licenses from the above states failed to meet these rigorous standards.
All of this critiquing of driver’s licenses is perfectly legal. In 2005, the REAL ID Act was passed. This piece of legislation barred federal agencies from accepting forms of identification from states that didn’t meet the standards outlined in the law. This makes certain state IDs invalid for purposes of travel.
Interestingly, only 25 states actually meet the standards outlined above. However, thanks to extensions issued by the government, the driver’s licenses from these states can be used after January 22, 2018. It is expected these states will meet the new standards shortly after the deadline.
If you live in one of the states that is not in compliance and did not receive an extension, you should look into applying for a passport right away. If you work in a government job, you should do so sooner rather than later. This is because there is an even earlier deadline for using a driver’s license to enter a nuclear power plant, federal facilities, and military bases. The deadline for this change is January 30, 2017. This means some people will need to get started on that passport application right away!
What do you think about these new regulations for driver’s licenses? Do you think it is an overreach of bureaucrats in Washington D.C. trying to limit the right to travel? Do you think it is just another example of the government trying to keep us safe from acts of terrorism? Let us know your thoughts on the issue below!