Digital driver’s licenses: States are ditching plastic for technology

Basically since the advent of the automobile, fear of losing your wallet — especially your driver’s license — has plagued Americans. But because of technology, that fear is increasingly going the way of the dodo bird.

That’s because many people are now opting for digital driver’s licenses. The advantages include convenience and the ability to update your information almost instantly via smartphone.

Would you opt for a digital driver’s license on your smartphone?

Although other states had pilot programs in the works, in July Louisiana became the first to roll out a digital driver’s license on the Android and iOS platforms. LA Wallet, as it is called, costs $5.99 to download and is accepted by law enforcement, vendors and the like just like the physical card.

The trend toward digital driver’s licenses follows the larger embrace of identification technology in airports, stores and elsewhere, for the things we do everyday.

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According to Allstate, 47 states permit electronic copies of insurance cards as of April 2018.

Aside from Louisiana, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois,  Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming are all testing or have plans to introduce digital driver’s licenses to their residents.

As with other digital technology, there is a need for caution. Although digital driver’s licenses will still come with the usual safeguards such as a PIN and password, cybersecurity experts warn that there is no fail-safe technology, especially on a smartphone.

“In the digital age, everyone wants to put everything on their phone, but we know that every computer program can be hacked into, every app can be hacked into,” Doug Morris, security director of the Owner-Operator  Independent Drivers Association, told LandLineMag.com.

Thinking about downloading a driver’s license app? Here are some other safety tips to consider:

3 tips for smartphone safety

  • Always lock your phone: Smartphones today have the ability to be locked via code and/or fingertip authentication to ensure your info stays safeguarded.
  • Use a strong password: Protect your mobile device by creating a hacker-resistance password. Don’t use familiar phrases or the names of family members. Here’s how to choose a good one.
  • Monitor your accounts: Always be vigilant about checking your online accounts periodically to guard against any suspicious transactions.

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