The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles plans to introduce a new electronic system for renewing and issuing licenses with features that include a laser-engraved 3-D photo of the driver.
An annual agency review presented to legislators Tuesday said the state's Next Generation Secure Driver License System will be introduced early next year. The new DMV computer system that will track driver information and generate the new licenses has been under development since 2010, paid for with the aid of federal grants.
The new system will improve security by taking customer photos first, then tracking motorists through each part of the licensing process, DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell told Associated Press.
“The biggest change customers will see is the 3-D images on their licenses,” Howell said. “Even though the new photos will be black and white, they will capture much more detail on every license.”
The new system is also expected to reduce average wait times for most transactions at the 112 DMV offices across the state to less than 30 minutes. Current wait times average about 34 minutes statewide, according to DMV.
The changes are part of a national push to upgrade security measures and decrease the possibility of identity theft. The new licenses to be issued to North Carolina's more than 6.9 million drivers will also include machine-readable technology and backgrounds with variable colors and patterns officials said will make the ID cards virtually impossible to counterfeit.
Fees collected from licenses go to the state's Highway Trust Fund. The program generated more than $58 million in revenue, according to the report.