Tamper-proof IDs: Kentucky, Alaska, & Indiana Unveiled New Designs for Driving Licenses


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For a long time now, ID designs are specifically focused to ensure their authenticity can be validated properly. In olden times, all you had to go on was a wax seal or a signature and that would be enough.

However, as we start to progress in terms of technology, so do our methods for making sure ID designs are still up to date.

These days, ID designs focus on a number of different techniques to make it easier to differentiate a fake ID from a real one.

However, as technology for making security features advances, so does the ability to replicate and forge those features. This is why you always have to be one step ahead in order to make ID cards as safe and secure as possible.

The states of Kentucky, Alaska, and Indiana have done just that by proposing new designs for their driver’s licenses. These designs have been scheduled for use in the coming years and will soon replace the existing licenses.

The Need for New Designs

There’s always an inherent need for governing bodies to update their ID designs to thwart forgery. Although they may not be able to produce a completely new design each time, the goal is to make it as difficult as possible.

With the addition of security features that rely on new technology, it becomes harder for someone to able to forge the design. They need new equipment or materials to manufacture the updated designs and sometimes, the costs become a big hindrance.

Another reason is simply for aesthetic purposes. It’s not always customary for a state to update its design for a security concern. Sometimes, states will update the design so that it may look visually pleasing.

A lot of driver’s licenses comply with the security standards of the modern licenses but have designs that look outdated as compared to the rest.

Kentucky’s New Driving License Design

Kentuckians will need to get the new driving licenses by late 2020. The updated design will incorporate new visual features as well as security updates to comply with the federal standards.

One of the most noticeable changes will be switching over to grayscale photos for the licenses. While color photos were used in licenses in the past, this will be changed.

The reason for this change is to make it easier for facial recognition. As facial recognition software scans for vital facial features, it is easier to work on a grayscale rather than a colored photo.

Another major visual change will be the incorporation of the new state seal and the state flower. The Kentuckian goldenrod will be prominently featured as a backdrop on the license both as a security feature and as a visual aesthetic.

The new license will come in two variants: an upgraded variant with a special black star logo and a standard license. Both variants will be valid for 8 years.

They are made from much more robust materials so that they will last longer. However, this also means they will cost twice as much as a normal license. For the first four years after the introduction of the new licenses, people can still buy the usual 4-year license for a cheaper price.

The major change in this redesign will be to prevent existing licenses from being used at the airport. Since Kentucky residents can board a flight using just their driving license, there was a major overhaul needed to improve security. Only the newer licenses with the black star logo can be used to board on flights.

Alaska’s New Driving License Design

Alaska is also following suit in changing its driving license design. This will make the state’s outdated design conform with the Real ID Act. Since the design for the license has been somewhat outdated, the license will be overhauled from the ground up.

To start with, the new Alaskan driving license will be made out of polycarbonate. This is the new accepted standard for almost all modern-day ID cards.

This will make it more durable and resistant to scratches and allow for more complicated visual features to be imprinted on it.

The new licenses will also have embossing on them. Letters and numbers that contain key information will be raised on the card. This will not only act as a security measure but also serve to make it easier for visually impaired people to read IDs.

As an added security measure, the driving licenses will incorporate patterns with special ink. This ink will be UV reactive, which will make these patterns visible only under ultraviolet light.

It will make it easier for government officials and local businesses to assess the validity of the ID more efficiently than before.

Lastly, these cards will be Real ID-compliant, which will make them widely accepted at airports. These cards must be obtained by next year and will be the first major update to Alaskan ID designs in a long while.

Indiana’s New Driving License Design

Indiana has also proposed to revamp its design for its driving license. A new set of improvements will be incorporated into the design so that it is more secure than the older variant.

The new design pays homage to Indiana’s racing heritage with the Indianapolis 500-Mile race that has been held since 1911. The front side of the driving license will feature an Indy 500 car in the background. It will replace the previous design which featured the state bird.

Cards will also be designed with new, tougher materials. As a result, the durability and longevity of the cards will be improved and they can withstand use and accidental damage over the years.

  • It will also add to the tamper-resistant measures. Special wording and vertical designs will be used for under 18 and under 21 citizens in order to easily distinguish minors and adults under the drinking age.
  • A host of security features will be incorporated like laser-engraved text and images. A mini portrait of the holder’s picture will be featured at the bottom right corner of the ID.
  • In addition to this, special UV and tactile features will also be present on these IDs. They will add an extra layer of security to the design of the ID and make them more fit for verification.

Like other ID redesigns, the newly designed Indiana driving license must be obtained by 2020 if you want to use it to board a flight.

Rollout of the Designs

As with everything else, these designs have been unveiled and slowly introduced into the system. At first, the designs are introduced via a voluntary program where residents renewing their licenses have a choice between the old or new design.

Eventually, the old designs will be phased out in favor of the new one. Anyone carrying an ID with an older design is treated the same as someone with an expired license.

They will have to renew their license so that it will have the updated format. Usually, these kinds of rollouts happen in a span of six months to a year or more. It is expected that these designs will become commonplace by the year 2020.

Korey Thomas Anderson

Korey Thomas Anderson was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has worked as a Bouncer & has valuable experience in spotting invalid identification cards. His work has been widely appreciated by Bar Owners & currently writes for our Blog.

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  • New Kentucky driver's license is one of the most sophisticated identity cards in recent times. Browsing through most fake ID websites I did not find any with that template apart from Topfakeid.com which means it shouldn't be used at all

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  • The approach of Polycarbonate driving licenses has also been adopted by Oklahoma. In fact, each license from Indiana, Florida, Alaska, Arkansas has the same security apparatus when it comes to ID card elements. Rigid bending will make a crease into the card, I am not sure whether Indiana, NY, or Arkansas can be put against bending tests anymore.

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