DOJ: News Release

Montana Driver Licenses Have New Look, Enhanced Security Features

HELENA – Department of Justice officials today unveiled newly redesigned Montana driver licenses and ID cards. Representatives of the Motor Vehicle Division made the announcement at a press event at the Attorney General’s Office.

“The new driver licenses and identification cards contain enhanced security features that will help protect Montana citizens from identity theft and fraud,” said Dean Roberts, Motor Vehicle Division administrator. “We are excited to install the new state-of-the-art equipment into the driver licensing stations so we can begin production of our new cards.”

Driver exam stations — beginning in Helena — have started issuing the new cards. The equipment to issue the new driver licenses and ID cards will be phased in statewide, and all driver licensing facilities will be converted to the new technology by mid-summer.

“Residents with valid driver licenses or ID cards do not need to get the new cards,” Roberts said. “Licenses and IDs with the prior design are valid until they expire.”

Here’s a look at some of the features of the new licenses and cards.

  • Colors – Licenses are color-coded, with a different color scheme for each type of license or card. Standard licenses are blue, commercial licenses are gold, motorcycle licenses are black and the ID cards are green.
  • Embedded images – There’s an image of a grizzly bear that is embedded within the plastic laminate of the cards. An image of a miner’s pick and shovel is visible under ultraviolet light, and there’s a silhouette of Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea that’s visible under concentrated light, like the beam of a flashlight.
  • Lettering – The “Montana” across the top of the cards is in a customized font.
  • Repeated, overlapping information – Some driver information, like date of birth, appears in more than one spot on the front of the card. In some spots, the date of birth overlaps the border of a photo.
  • Photographs – In addition to the large photograph of the cardholder, there is a lighter “ghost” copy of the photograph on the lower right side of the card.

And licenses for young drivers are oriented vertically, with highlighted notations of when the cardholder turns 18 and 21.

“The different orientation of the card will make it easy to tell if someone is old enough to purchase alcohol or tobacco,” Roberts said.

The backs of the cards include a barcode that contains the data from the front of the card, a pictograph that denotes the class of the license, endorsements and restrictions.

Roberts said the cost of the project is about $11 million over seven years, based on a rate of about $8.50 per card produced and about 180,000 cards issued per year. Roberts stressed, however, that the fee to get or renew a license or ID card is not going up.

Roberts added that the updated equipment will also help the MVD move toward statewide scheduling of driver services.

“By November of this year,” Roberts said, “every exam station should be able to schedule every appointment. We know customers appreciate the service and are grateful not to have to wait in line.”

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