As mandated by federal Real ID Act of 2005, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing what they call more secure state identification cards in 2013. Drivers will no longer be able to get their new licenses while they wait. The "Safe ID" cards will be created in a centralized location and mailed to Ohioans. In the meantime, the BMV will issue a temporary ID card which can be used. The new IDs likely will cost more to make and to purchase, but state officials said the numbers haven't been decided on and the current contractor of Ohio drivers' licenses will get the contract.
Photo: Barbara J. Perenic
Photo: Barbara J. Perenic

New drivers license will cost more, take longer to get

Ohio’s new Safe ID will cost an additional $3.25 to purchase, be manufactured in California and take longer to get through the mail from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Those renewing their drivers’ licenses beginning Jan. 15, 2013 can retain the current “legacy” style of license, but those moving to Ohio and new drivers must get the new IDs and produce more documentation to get the new high-tech identification cards.

The Safe ID cards are designed to be compliant with the controversial Real ID Act of 2005 that grew out of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Officials at the Ohio BMV say the Safe ID cards will be thinner, have a new look, a new feel and feature enhanced security features to thwart counterfeiters.

A spokeswoman from Ohio’s BMV said the new licenses will cost $29 — up 12.6 percent from $25.75 — and that the fee may be part of the transportation budget. Lindsey Bohrer also said the IDs will be produced in Sacramento, Calif. but that manufacturer MorphoTrust eventually may move production to its Fort Wayne, Ind. factory.

“Per the service level agreement with MorphoTrust, in most cases the Safe ID cards will be received in the mail by the customer in about two weeks,” Bohrer said. “Keep in mind, customers will be given paper driving privileges document in the license agency that is good for 45 days.”

Bohrer said full implementation will be delayed beyond the Jan. 15 pilot program pending completion of the Common Sense Initiative Office and Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review processes, which seek to streamline regulatory standards. The BMV estimates that they will have 30 percent participation — 2.25 million — who acquire Safe IDs.

Existing Ohio drivers whose licenses expire prior to implementation have the option to renew under current rules until Dec. 1, 2014 or later if they are at least 50 years old.

Federal and state officials have no current cost estimates to implement the programs in Ohio or nationally, but a 2008 Department of Homeland Security document detailed an 11-year national rollout cost at $9.9 billion under mandates that since have been relaxed.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) was a co-sponsor of the controversial Real ID Act of 2005. Turner’s office said his schedule didn’t allow him time for a short interview, but his spokesman addressed the effort behind the act.

“As you know, the terrorists who murdered thousands of Americans on 9/11 took advantage of lax ID laws in order to board aircraft for use as weapons,” Turner spokesman Tom Crosson said. “Mr. Turner joined a bipartisan group of House members to create strong standards which would prevent this from happening in the future.”

By 2017, Real ID-compliant identification cards will be needed for federal purposes such as boarding a commercial aircraft or entering a federal building. Documents will be needed to verify a licensee’s date of birth, Social Security Number, principal address and evidence of lawful presence. Those could include a birth certificate, Social Security card and utility bills.

Foes of the Real ID act say the federally mandated measure has serious security questions and will never be fully implemented because 15 states have passed bipartisan legislation to bar its enactment and 10 more have passed resolutions denouncing it.

“Real ID is kind of dying a slow death because states are saying we are not going to comply with it; we don’t want to comply with it,” Ohio American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Mike Brickner said earlier this year. “It begs the question as to why Ohio is going ahead with it.

“It was going to cost not only the state itself more money to implement, but it’s also going to cost individual drivers more money when you’re going to get your ID.

“That’s not a very popular thing when we’re dealing with really deep budget problems on the state level.”

Ohio was not one of those states, but former Ohio Rep. Diana Fessler, R-New Carlisle, did present a resolution in 2008 calling for the federal government to repeal Real ID.

The new IDs won’t be able to be de-laminated and will feature raised portions and new marks for security. During the wait for the new IDs to show up, citizens’ previous driver’s license or ID will be hole-punched and returned to be used as additional proof of identity with the interim card.

The BMV said individual agencies will decide if the temporary ID will suffice.

Bohrer said the current card stock is $1.139 per ID, but “that doesn’t include transaction fees.” She also said the BMV’s current contract with MorphoTrust has not been updated to account for new IDs.

On its website, MorphoTrust says it has produced more than 2 billion government IDs including for TSA workers, the FBI and the Department of Defense. It also says it provides drivers’ licenses for 41 states and is the prime contractor for the U.S. Passport Card.

A part of the multinational Safran group that specializes in aerospace, defense and security, MorphoTrust says it has 2,800 employees, worldwide subsidiaries, six production centers and nine development centers.