Recently I had a meeting with a representative of a state house. The reason for the meeting was he wanted to introduce legislation that would require an identifiable designator for registered sex offenders on a driver license. To be candid, I was caught off guard because I had not adequately prepared to answer his questions and perhaps needed a bit more data to deliver a case. However, I took a professional route by providing the best optimal argument against such a plan.
A driver license is not by federal standards a truly legal form of identification. Yes, it is produced by a state government but not issued by a federal government. Therefore, there is a gray area that its intended purpose is for motor vehicle standards. A state-issued identification card is, in fact, a state-issued ID but also falls under particular rules that it too is not a federal ID. The Real ID Act of 2005 modified U.S. law after 9/11 to increase security for state-issued ID cards targeting immigration and terror-related issues. There is nothing that requires or prohibits states allowing them to add anything to a driver license they wish. Essentially, it is the states that have created a defacto identification card that has morphed into this massive data sharing scheme.
The Commonwealth of Virginia recently added fishing and hunting icons to its driver license for registered hunting and wildlife programs. Many states have added veteran status among a string of added organ donor icons. Some states have introduced and are actively using the sex offender stamp on its driver license. My argument is “when does it stop? As a concerned driver, I am more concerned about habitual drunk drivers or those with serious motor vehicle matters being quickly identified at a car rental counter or borrowing a car than a sex offender behind the wheel. Why not target the driver license with a DUI stamp to the very people that are a hazard to our roads?” The representative paused for a minute and said, “I never thought of that?” I went on to say that the registry is enough and a driver license will eventually become out of control allowing information overload. There is no data to prove its success nor data to disprove it. Therefore, it must be a waste of money and effort. The representative agreed and terminated the idea.
The significance of this issue is that states already have an expensive endeavor maintaining driver records, security, authentication, and standards a driver license program. Additional resources such as insurance, collision reporting, traffic infractions, vehicle titles and registrations, social security numbers, medical reporting, voter ID, and other traffic-related factors somewhat overload a system that requires consumer updates each expiration period. Adding additional information such as sex offender, wildlife permits, other sensitive information shouldn’t be a part of the driver license policy. There is an active registry for that. It may appear convenient, but at some point, the system is bound to collapse, become compromised and too costly for an agency to undertake. Eventually, it will become outsourced and cost taxpayers and states a hefty fee in the long term. Additionally, getting out of the program will require significantly more resources and funding.