(04/08/2005)
The state Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing new driver's licenses to West Virginian's.

The changes on the new cards will be beyond the obvious, to prevent identity theft.

Motor Vehicles Commissioner Doug Stump said "They're geniuses, those identity thieves. But when we do this to them, they won't be able to do it."

Stump said one of the pilots who crashed a plane into a twin tower in New York City on 9-11 had obtained 16 different state licenses under the analog system. He said "We're closing the loopholes."

A valid driver's license can be a valuable token to help a person buy guns, obtain credit, secure federal documents and gain employment.

State motor vehicle officials recommended a standardized system that included tighter application requirements, improved procedures, real-time verification of driving history, internal audits, employee training and stiffer penalties for fraud.

West Virginia is on-board with the effort.

There are many new security features. Instead of one photo, there will be two. The much smaller second one is a 20 percent screen that won't reproduce on a copier.

"Drivers' licenses are going to change and do more than just be an ID," Stump said. "The most important document in a pocketbook is a license."


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