The Move to a Digital Driver's License New Mexico SB88 Considered


Digital licenses under consideration in New Mexico

The New Mexico legislature is considering enacting legislation around the use of digital driver's licenses with SB88 under consideration.

A digital driver’s license is a secure​ version of your physical driver’s license or ID card that can be stored on your cell phone. Both iPhone and Android users can already store things like credit cards, plane tickets, hotel keys, and event tickets in digital wallets. In the same way, a DDL grants you easy access to your license or ID on your device.

A Digital version is NOT just a digital copy or screenshot of your driver’s license; the technology works with your state’s government to set up and verify your identity digitally through an app or your smartphone.

Since you rarely leave home without your phone, with a DDL, you’ll be able to access your ID even if you leave your wallet or purse at home. Keep in mind, however, that a digital version is not a replacement for your license or ID, but rather a supplement to it.

Most levels of government support the use of digital licenses. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working to help create new standards for mobile driver’s licenses, known as ISO 18013-5 mDL, and TSA started testing DDL acceptance for PreCheck passengers at select trial airports.

At a state level, many states have already begun rolling out digital driver’s licenses that are compatible with Apple Wallet. Since states are generally responsible for issuing licenses and ID cards, and the legislation under SB88 is New Mexico's attempt to catch up with the technology.

There are a few states that offer their own apps to store your digital ID, such as:

  • Arizona, Delaware, Mississippi, and Oklahoma — Idemia, a French security company, has launched the Mobile ID app in several U.S. states, including Arizona, Delaware, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.
  • ColoradomyColorado is a state-sponsored app that offers proof of identification, age, and address within the state.
  • Louisiana — The DDL in the LA Wallet app is 100% legal for driving purposes and accepted by state law enforcement.
  • MarylandMaryland Mobile ID is an app that is a “voluntary, secure, digitized version of your MDOT MVA-issued driver’s license (DL) or identification card (ID) available in the Apple Wallet app on your iPhone and Apple Watch.”
  • Utah — The Get Mobile group has developed an app for Utah that is currently an optional program.

Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Puerto Rico will offer digital licenses in the near future.

Specific to the New Mexico proposal...

Senate bill 88 amends the Motor Vehicle Code to authorize the Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) to issue an electronic credential in addition to a physical driver’s license or identification card. An “electronic credential” is an electronic representation of a driver’s license, identification card, or data field that can be electronically accessed and maintained by TRD.

SPECIFICATIONS FOR ELECTRONIC CREDENTIALS.• Issued via download from a state-approved application.
• Capable of producing a full or a limited profile (all or a portion of the information on a driver’s license or ID card)
• Designed to allow the credential holder to maintain physical possession of the device on which the electronic credential is accessed during verification.
• Satisfy the purpose for which the profile is being presented.
• Does not include a digital copy, photograph, or image of an electronic credential that is not downloaded through a state-approved application.
• TRD may charge a fee for issuance or use of a verification system.
• Access to the verification system by a person presented with an electronic credential requires the credential holder’s consent.
• A third party may administer on behalf of TRD a system to facilitate the issuance, verification, or use of electronic credentials.
• TRD is to adopt rules as necessary or appropriate to implement this program

The bill passed the senate 38 to 0 and is on the way through the committees of the house and to the floor for a vote.

- Mica Maynard on assignment at the Roundhouse

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