A handful of efforts intended to guard against identity theft and
address driving privileges drew consideration during the recently completed
legislative session in North Carolina. One of the bills awaiting Gov. Mike
Easley’s signature would require residents in the state to provide a Social
Security number to get a driver’s license.
The General Assembly approved the bill, SB602, last week in the final
hours of the regular session. If signed by the governor, it would change the
state’s license law to say the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot issue a
driver’s license unless the applicant provides a valid Social Security number, The Associated Press reported.
Anyone unable to provide a Social Security number can still get a
license as long as they provide a taxpayer identification number.
Another effort that received legislative approval in the waning hours
of the session would allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 53 to renew their
licenses for eight-year terms. The current renewal period is five years.
That bill, HB267, would also allow all applicants for new driver’s
licenses to get their permanent licenses by mail. Currently, licenses must be
picked up from local Department of Motor Vehicles offices.
But removed from the bill was a provision that would have allowed
drivers to renew their licenses on the Internet.
The House rejected a Senate effort that would have allowed drivers with
permanently revoked licenses to ask judges to give them limited driving
privileges. The effort was intended to allow affected drivers to travel to work
or the grocery store.
Opponents said the bill – SB1087 – would treat those with permanently
revoked licenses better than people who have temporarily lost their privileges
for relatively minor offenses, The AP reported.
Another failed effort would have allowed law enforcement officers to
snap photos of drivers who cannot produce identification to verify who they
Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Winston-Salem, said the bill – HB2881 – was
intended to ease concerns that some unlicensed drivers often give officers
false names and information, The AP reported.
Had the bill been approved, it would have required those photos to be attached
to court files with the driver’s violation, which could include an infraction
for driving without a license. If drivers gave false information about their
identities, the verification photo would have enabled the actual person to
prove to a court that they weren’t behind the wheel when the infraction
One other bill, HB1125, that failed to gain passage sought to help
clean up roadways in the state by requiring anyone applying for a driver’s
license, learner’s permit or identification card to sign a pledge stating “I
will not litter.”
– By Keith Goble, state legislative