NJ Motor Vehicle Chief, Attorney General and Homeland Security Director Unveil the State’s New, More Secure Driver License

Continuing the Christie Administration’s efforts to boost security and safety within the Garden State, Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez, along with Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Charles B. McKenna, today unveiled New Jersey’s next generation of personal identification with a new Enhanced Digital Driver License (EDDL).

“The driver license is no longer a simple card that proves you are legally entitled to operate a motor vehicle,” said Chief Martinez. “It is now the primary source of identification for most Americans and a source (breeder) document used for so many other pieces of identification.”

The EDDL, which was fully implemented in all 39 MVC agencies today, builds on the security first introduced in 2004 with New Jersey’s first digital license. The new license, while similar in appearance to the old license, features more than 25 covert and overt features designed to reduce fraud and abuse through updated technology and enhanced security features that are known only to the MVC and its law enforcement partners.

“I want to commend the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for its hard work in the creation of this new Enhanced Digital Driver License, as well as the multitude of law enforcement agencies that will assist in the investigation of those who seek to fraudulently obtain this new license,” Attorney General Dow said. “This cutting edge form of identification is one more tool available to all levels of law enforcement to stay one step ahead of criminals.”

“While the old license is adequate, recent events remind us that we must remain vigilant and stay one step ahead of those criminals who would seek to perpetrate fraud and illegally obtain this valuable form of identification,” Martinez said.

“Strengthening document security remains a top priority for New Jersey’s law enforcement and homeland security personnel,” said Director McKenna. “The arrival of the Enhanced Digital Driver License will deter those who seek to fraudulently obtain a New Jersey driver license as part of their criminal activity, which may be connected to a domestic or international terrorism plot.”

The new EDDL is also considered to be materially-compliant under REAL ID standards. The REAL ID Act of 2005 is a federal law that imposes certain security, authentication and issuance procedures for state driver licenses and state ID cards in order for them to be accepted for “official purposes” as defined by the US Secretary of Homeland Security.

Following the completion of the MVC’s core computer system overhaul in late 2012, the MVC will begin to implement a new, secure central issuance process for all driver license renewals that should eliminate over 1 million visits to its agencies per year.

The task of central issuance will be aided by state-of-the-art facial recognition technology because it will give the MVC the flexibility it needs to investigate possible fraud before a “final” license is mailed to its recipient. The software used in the MVC’s new EDDL issuance system enables agency personnel to take clear and accurate photos of each license applicant.

In the last decade, the MVC has implemented numerous security and fraud prevention measures to complement its digital license, including 6-point ID Verification, security enhanced license plates and temporary registration tags and a comprehensive document fraud training program which even outside partners have taken advantage of over the years.

In 2010, the MVC conducted 340 criminal investigations that led to 278 arrests resulting in either completed or still-pending criminal prosecutions triggered by fraudulent documents and various fraud-related offenses and another 66 related to other offenses.

And just last month, the Office of the Attorney General and the NJ State Police announced the culmination of two large-scale investigations that were the direct result of state agencies leveraging each other’s assets. The cooperative investigations – dubbed Operation Southern Drawn and Operation White Cloud, showed the direct relationship between the sale of fraudulent identification document, the sale of stolen cars, car jackings and the illegal sale of guns and drugs.