Maryland to unveil new licenses

| Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Gov. Robert Ehrlich was set March 25 to unveil the state's first new driver's license in a decade in hopes of thwarting underage drinkers and the counterfeiting industry, The Associated Press reports. The new licenses, which have been three years and $40 million in the making, are covered with multicolored holograms to make them tough to counterfeit.

The credit card-sized license features Maryland's signature blue crab. A new color-coded system comes with the licenses: blue for most motorists, green for commercial drivers, purple for moped users. Identification cards will be red, while temporary licenses will have a black border.

But the biggest change will be for drivers under 21. Underage licenses will be formatted vertically, with the date on the front for easy age identification. Pictures will be frontal, instead of profile.

To make it more difficult to counterfeit the state seal, the driver's signature and control number will overlap photos on all new licenses. A faint ghost photo will be in a corner of the license, with the driver's birth date superimposed.

The process of getting a license will also change. Applicants, whether first time or renewals, will have their photos taken first to ensure the same person goes through each step of the process.

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