Iowa Builds Smartphone App to Display Driver's Licenses
Smartphone users in Iowa will soon be able to keep a secure electronic record of their driver's licenses in their phones using a new app.Drivers in Iowa will soon be able to pull out their smartphones to display their state driver's licenses after a new electronic driver's license mobile app becomes available sometime in 2015. But the free new app is being touted as more than just a tool for drivers who forget to carry their license, Mark Lowe, the director of the motor vehicle division in the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), told eWEEK. It's also a modern form of identification that Iowa drivers will be able to use when traveling, writing a check in a store or doing myriad other tasks that require positive ID, he said. The app, which will be available next year, will be accompanied by a PIN number provided by the Iowa DOT so that users will be able to secure the app on their smartphones, said Lowe. A secondary biometric authentication method will also eventually be used so that drivers will have to provide a fingerprint, thumbprint or possible facial recognition to open the license app on their phones. Iowa has already been using electronic apps so that drivers can show their proof of motor vehicle insurance on their devices, in case they are not carrying their insurance cards, he said. "It was an easy legislative change a couple years ago to allow that," said Lowe. "The market drove demand [for the capability]." That earlier electronic insurance card legislation paved the way for the mobile driver's license app, said Lowe. "To me, that's the reason you now look at this kind of mobile app. People really look at their mobile devices to do a lot of things nowadays."