Readers are going ballistic over the new “compliant” driver’s licenses that will be required if you want to fly in a commercial airplane or enter a government building.

The basics: If you don’t want the new, federally mandated license, you can continue to drive in Ohio with an old-fashioned one. But you won’t be able to patronize an airline or walk through the doors of any federal building.

Either way, you can't get your license the same day, as has been the case forever. All licenses will be mailed, allegedly destined to arrive within 10 days. During those 10 days, you'll tote around an Ohio Interim Documentation Form to prove you’re a licensed driver.

Although the new licenses aren't required until October 2020, Ohio started the process July 2 to give residents plenty of time. In this case, the early bird seems to be getting the screw.

Part of the problem may well be that in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' web page for “Ohio’s New DL-ID,” the wording says “birth certificate or passport,” without noting that the birth certificate must be an original or certified copy rather than a photocopy.

Don Bowker of Mantua Township is among those who have been flummoxed. He unloaded his frustration in a voicemail to his favorite columnist:

“These so-called new security driver’s licenses are a big hassle. Three trips to get my wife licensed with one of these chip deals. We went to two different locations. At one of them, all the damn computers were down. Numerous paper issues. We knew what to bring, but they didn’t like it.

“A real birth certificate doesn’t hack it. You have to have one of these certified ones. That costs an extra $24. We had to run over to Kent to get it. Three trips!

“And then they’re going to mail them? Yeah. Anybody with an ounce of brains is going to know what those envelopes look like and they’re gonna start stealing the licenses for all of the encoded chip information.

“It’s a total disaster.”

Bowker was just one of half a dozen readers who have flipped out about the requirements. Some readers were a bit more delicate in expressing their opinion of the change, but no less emotional.

Trust mail?

Most of this is federally mandated by the Real ID Act of 2005. But one question does loom large: Subjecting a chip loaded with personal information to the ups and downs of the U.S. Postal Service does not exactly feel foolproof. As Bowker noted, a mail thief wouldn’t have much trouble identifying the envelope the licenses come in — a sample is displayed on the BMV website!

No big deal, insists Lindsey Bohrer, spokesperson for the BMV.

“We are the 42nd state to use a centralized production and fulfillment by mail. Of the other 41 states, 34 states use central production/issuance exclusively and the other seven use central production for the federally compliant cards only.”

So, if my advanced math is correct, that means eight states don’t use the mail. Isn’t mailing more dangerous in terms of potential identify theft?

“It comes in an unmarked envelope no different than Social Security cards, credit cards, etc. arrive in the mail.”

“Also, it is more secure that they are being printed from one secure location, as opposed to nearly 200 deputy registrar locations across the state.”

OK.

A couple of key things to keep in mind:

• A photocopy of your birth certificate will not work.

• A Medicare card showing your Social Security number will not work.

Unfortunately, some employees at deputy registrars seem to be struggling with the details, too. One reader reported that when she brought in a Social Security card with her married name on it, one worker initially said she also needed a copy of her marriage license. After some discussion among employees, the marriage license requirement was dropped.

What to bring

So here’s the scoop. You need FOUR different items.

You need ONE of these:

• Current U.S. passport.

• Certified or original birth certificate with a seal.

You need ONE of these:

• Social Security card (if married, the one showing your married name).

• W-2 tax form.

• 1099 income statement showing your Social Security number.

You need TWO of these, both showing your home address:

• Utility bill.

• Checking, savings or online bank statement.

• Credit card statement.

• Certified copy of school record or transcript.

• House, life or auto insurance policy or card.

• Child-support check stub.

• Installment loan contract.

The way to get your license remains the same — by going to a deputy registrar.

The good news is you won't have to pay more for the federal one. Both are $25.75.

October 2020 seems like a long way away, and it is. But just imagine what the lines will be like if you wait until the last couple of months.

And if your current license expires anytime between then and now, your time has already come.

 

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31