We use our smartphones for lots of things other than making phone calls. They’re our cameras, music players, and more recently they’ve become our wallets too. Starting next year, Iowans may be able to add “driver’s license” to that list.
The Iowa Department of Transportation plans to launch a smartphone app in 2015 that’ll be “basically your license on your phone,” DOT Director Paul Trombino explained. Trombino went on to say that Iowa is “really moving forward on this” and that the state may be the first in the nation to offer a smartphone driver’s license.
The app is expected to require a PIN to verify their identity. In order to fight fake IDs, the Iowa DOT is considering a feature that’ll have the photo on the license move a bit so that you can tell that it’s not a screenshot. Apps for both Android and iOS are in the works, and while Iowa is aiming for a release in 2015, concerns around privacy and security prevent the state from locking down a 2015 release. It’s worth noting that the app would be optional, so you wouldn’t be forced to buy a smartphone or use the app if you don’t want to.
As smartphones increasingly become the sole item that we need for communication, commerce and more, it makes sense that we’d be able to use them to hold our driver’s licenses as well. That’s especially true in Iowa, which is one of the more than 30 states that already allow drivers to show electronic proof of insurance while in a traffic stop. Obviously Iowa has a lot to figure out before it can actually launch its driver’s license app, including a surefire way to prevent fakes. Here’s to hoping that it can and that other states follow suit.