Although the comment period regarding the development of
national standards for driver’s licenses ended March 25, truckers and others
still have an opportunity to make their opinions known to the U.S. Department
An advisory committee has been established to help develop
the standards and DOT officials announced Tuesday, March 29, that the
committee’s meeting schedule will include public comment periods. The makeup of
the committee and the schedule for developing the national driver’s license
standards were mandated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
of 2004, which was a result of the September 11 Commission report.
Section 7212 of the act calls for national driver’s license
standards to determine what documents should be required to prove a person’s
identity and how to verify those documents’ authenticity. The act also requires
that there be national standards for what information should be required on
every driver’s license, regardless of the issuing state.
In this case – unlike most DOT rulemaking procedures – the
agency will not create a proposed rule and ask for comment. Instead, it has
formed a committee of state and federal officials to negotiate the rules, which
the terrorism act mandates must be established by June 17, 2006. However, to
give the DOT time to issue its final rule on the standards, the committee must
make its recommendations by Sept. 17 this year.
To meet that deadline, the DOT has set the following meeting
schedule for the committee:
31, June 1-3;
The meetings will take place in the DOT headquarters
building, 400 7th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, in Room 2230. All meetings
are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m.
The meetings are open to the public, unless portions of the
meeting are held in closed session, as provided under federal law. Attendance
will be limited by the size of the meeting room and anyone from the public
wishing to attend will have to enter through designated security checkpoints.
Because of the time needed for security measures, the public is advised to
arrive at 8:30 a.m.
Public comments will be allowed during each meeting session
on Wednesdays from 2 to 3 p.m. The DOT published the following procedure for
public comments in the Federal Register on March 29:
“Individuals wishing to address the committee should sign up
on the public comment sign-in sheet before lunch and the time available will be
reasonably divided among those who have signed up, but no one will have more
than 15 minutes even if less than 4 people have signed up.
“Written comments and reports can be given to the
facilitator for distribution to the committee members. Persons wanting to
present written materials to the committee should make enough copies for all
According to the DOT’s published material in the Federal
Register, the agenda topics for all of the meetings will include, but not necessarily
be limited to discussion of:
required as proof of identity of an applicant for a driver’s license or
personal identification card, including the scope of personal
identification cards covered by the requirement;
of documents used;
of applications for driver’s licenses and personal identification cards to
to be included on licenses or ID cards;
machine-readable identity information to be included on licenses or ID
cards, including defined minimum data elements.
standards to ensure that licenses and ID cards are resistant to tampering,
alteration, or counterfeiting and capable of accommodating and ensuring
the security of a digital photograph or other unique identifier;
that a state confiscate driver’s licenses or ID cards if any component or
security feature of them is compromised;
that rules facilitate communication between the states’ chief driver
licensing officials, an appropriate official of a federal agency and other
relevant officials to verify the authenticity of documents, as
appropriate, issued by such federal agency or entity and presented to
prove the identity of an individual.
that standards do not infringe on the states’ powers to set criteria
concerning what categories of individuals are eligible to obtain driver’s
licenses or ID cards;
on requiring states to comply with any regulation that conflicts with or
otherwise interferes with the full enforcement of state criteria
concerning the categories of individuals that are eligible to obtain
driver’s licenses or ID cards;
on requiring a single design to which driver’s licenses or ID cards issued
by all states must conform;
and requirements to protect the privacy rights of individuals who apply
for and hold driver’s licenses and ID cards;
of the benefits and costs of the recommendations.
– By Coral Beach, Land Line staff