HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - This week, PennDOT discussed updates to the design and enhancement of its driver licenses and identifications cards. The department says new security features will help prevent fraud and identity theft. 

“PennDOT remains vigilant in taking proactive measures to mitigate fraud, such as identity theft, by updating our security features regularly,” said Kurt Myers, Deputy Secretary for PennDOT. 

According to the department, all driver license and photo centers will transition to the new products by this November. The new products will be phased in during renewal cycles and will replace existing products. The new products, or cards, look different and have enhanced features to prevent counterfeiting, and other identity concerns. 

“All of these measures are important enhancements to fight against fraudulent driver license or identification cards being produced or used. Fraudulently obtaining and using a counterfeit product can have an adverse impact on highway safety and national security, so the need to deter and detect fraud is of paramount importance,” said Brent Lawson, PennDOT’s Risk Management Director. “These new security features make it more difficult to produce a fraudulent product,” he added. 

PennDOT is also urging residents, who are renewing their products, to decide if they will need a REAL ID. 

“We encourage our customers who want a REAL ID to get one as soon as possible,” said Sarah Baker, the REAL ID Director for PennDOT. “Making the conscious decision about your REAL ID needs now, will help ensure you are well prepared prior to the May 3, 2023 federal enforcement deadline,” she added. 

On May 3, 2023, you will need either a REAL ID, OR standard ID with a passport to board domestic flights, access federal facilities, and military bases. To obtain a REAL ID, you’ll need a birth certificate or passport, your social security card, as well as two acceptable proofs of current physical address. That can include your current driver’s license, vehicle registration, auto insurance card, a recent utility bill, or a W 2 form or pay stub. If you’ve legally changed your name, you’ll need a marriage certificate or court order as well. 

PennDOT says they’re also exploring other modern concepts, such as a mobile drivers’ license, (MDL). 

“One of the ways PennDOT is looking at the future is exploring a mobile driver's license or MDL, an MDL is a driver's license that is provisioned to a mobile device with the capability to be updated in real time. It is comprised of the same data elements that are used to produce physical driver's license. However, this data is transmitted electronically through a relying party’s reader device, and authenticated,” said Baker. “The MDL will offer significant additional benefit to physical credentials which can be lost or stolen, become broken or damaged, contain outdated information, or offer too much information, including your personally identifiable information,” Baker added. 

Since March 2019, PennDOT has issued approximately 1.8 million REAL ID products. 

More information about REAL ID can be found on the REAL ID page on the Driver and Vehicle Services website.