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New Florida driver's licenses -- and new security features -- coming in August

By Divya Kumar and Samantha Putterman, Times Staff Writers
Starting in August, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will begin to issue the new Florida driver license and ID card. [Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles]

A new look is coming to Florida driver's licenses and ID cards with new security measures.

Starting in August, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will issue new IDs that will include security features designed to crack down on the production of fake driver's licenses.

"This is the most secure over-the-counter credential available," said spokeswoman Alexis Bakofsky. "We want customers to know that it has double the number of security features to try to combat counterfeit and driver's license fraud."

Law enforcement officials and tax collectors from across the state were involved with the redesign process, she said.

The colorful new cards include ultraviolet ink and features only visible if viewed under UV light. The subject's photo will also be printed with a transparent background and appear in four places on the card.

"The person's picture will be on it in four different locations ...," Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano said. "So it'll be extremely difficult to replicate."

Fasano said the problem of fake IDs is one he's had to deal with in his jurisdiction.

"It wasn't long ago that the (Pasco County Sheriff's Office) had a press conference that I was at that we had some guy selling driver's licenses right over the Internet," he said.

The new IDs will also include features to make it easy to identify what type of license it is and some of the special privileges of the license holder:

• Each card will have a different colored header to designate what type of license it is. Commercial driver's licenses will be blue; standard driver's licenses will be green; identification cards will be red; and learner's licenses will be orange.

• Floridians under the age of 21 will have a red box on the front of their licenses that will list the date of their 21st birthday.

• The new IDs will also include other designations such as lifetime boating and hunting licenses; freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses; that identify military veterans; and list medical conditions such as hard of hearing and insulin dependency; and, of course, whether the holder is an organ donor. Adding those designations, with the exception of developmental disabilities and organ donors, will add $1 for each designation when the card is renewed or $2 when it's replaced.

"What they're trying to do, and I think it's a great idea, is have everything incorporated on your license," Fasano said.

Those designations could benefit drivers, he said, such as those who are deaf. A driver who is pulled over because they didn't hear an emergency vehicle's sirens could prove they're hearing impaired.

[Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles]

New Florida drivers license and ID cards

Those classified as sexual predators under Florida law will have the words "sexual predator" printed in blue letters on the front of the license. Those classified as sexual offenders will have the number of the state statute printed on their license: "943.0435 F.S."

The front of the card shows a pastel-colored rendering of the Florida state seal and a large orange "FL" in the background. On the back a light blue image of the state, and the word "Florida" and "1845," the year the state became the nation's 27th, is printed atop ocean waves.

[Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles]

New Florida drivers license and ID cards

The new licenses will only be available in certain counties starting in August (none in the Tampa Bay area as of yet) as the new printing machines are rolled out across the state. However, the new design should be available in the bay area, across the state and online by December.

Bakofsky said residents should keep checking recommends checking the agency's website at www.flhsmv.gov/ to find out when the new licenses are available in their areas.

All current Florida driver's licenses and ID cards will remain valid until they expire.

Times staff writer Josh Solomon contributed to this report.