Driver licenses sporting new look 03-22-05

PHONE: 961-2244
MARCH 22, 2005

Photo of Mike McNeal and Don Thompson
Image of new driver license NEW LICENSE – Mike McNeal of the Marquis ID Systems company, above left, explains how the new license-making machine works to Don Thompson, a driver license examiner. At left is a sample of what the new license looks like.


The Hawaii County Police Department today began issuing driver licenses sporting a new look in Hilo and Kona.

The new licenses will soon be issued at all driver license stations that currently issue licenses on the Big Island.

The new licenses are designed so that they cannot be duplicated or forged, according to Mike McNeal, a representative of Marquis ID Systems, a company that makes the new licensing system.

McNeal spent the morning Tuesday (March 22, 2005) teaching driver license clerks and examiners how the new system works.

He listed several changes that make the new licenses different from — and more secure than — the old. The changes include:

  • The license includes micro printing in fine print that can’t be duplicated.
  • When held up to a black light, the word “Hawaii” appears several times along the edge. The words are embedded and can’t be duplicated.
  • The license includes holograms of the state emblem and the word “Hawaii” on the laminate that appear when the license is held up to the light.
  • Information for driver’s younger than 21 is printed vertically on the license. For adults, it is printed horizontally as it was with the old licenses.

In addition, McNeal said, future improvements include a feature that allows the license clerk to pull up a driver’s old photo on the computer to verify his identity when he shows up to renew his license.

The new licenses are the same size as the old, but more colorful. They include two copies of the driver’s photo and signature on the front. They also include small numbers printed next to the information on the front of the license. These are part of a new protocol so that authorities in foreign countries who can’t read English can understand what the information means.

To create the new license, the clerk or examiner enters the necessary data on a computer screen. The driver’s photograph, signature and right thumbprint are recorded digitally.

The driver’s photograph and signature, as well as the necessary information, then appear on a large replica of the license on the computer screen. If all the information is correct, the information is then transmitted to a machine that prints the new driver’s license.

The new information is then transmitted to a large computer mainframe for storage in Honolulu.

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