Floridians Begin Getting New Licenses, Including Vertical Ones for Minors

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There is no mistaking a motorist under 21 with Florida’s new driver license. They’re vertical instead of the more traditional style people over 21 years old will get.

Convenience store operator Ed Medley welcomes the change. His store was fined when a minor got away with an alcohol purchase.

“It’s hard, they come in when you’re really busy, to look at the driver’s license, and you have to look at the dates and look in the back of you at the list to see if they’re old enough, you know. I like it. I really do. This will make it a lot better, sure it will.”

The elaborate new licenses for adults and minors are created using a new digital imaging process. All the information on the front of the card is also stored on the back in a barcode and magnetic strip.

They are also much harder to counterfeit. The licenses have 17 different security features.

The high-tech features include secret codes you can only see with a black light.

State Division of Driver Licenses Director Sandra Lambert says life just got tougher for the fake id business.

“The current license has a plain white background. Pretty easy to counterfeit or make in a dorm room. This new license has a beach scene with lots and lots of different information on it, almost impossible to counterfeit, even alter it."

The driver’s licenses for minors will even have the date when the motorist turns 21 years old right next to the picture.

The new licenses seem to be a hit, at least among adults. The contractor making them for the state mailed out nearly 12,000 just in the first two days they became available.

Right now the new licenses are only available to people renewing or changing address by mail, phone or over the Internet, but you’ll be able to get one at your local driver’s license facility by the end of the year.

Log on to www.hsmv.state.fl.us for more information.