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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2010

Hawaii getting new look for driver's license

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Beginning Monday, driverís licenses issued in Hawaii will sport a vivid new look, one that authorities believe will make them harder to forge and better able to protect the driverís confidential information.

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Beginning Monday, driverís licenses issued in Hawaii will sport a vivid new look, one that authorities believe will make them harder to forge, better able to protect the driverís confidential information and easier to tell whoís old enough to drink or smoke.

The changes were announced by Maui County officials.
The basic design of Hawaii licenses was last changed in 2005.
ďA new, state-of-the-art production system that has been installed throughout the state provides us the opportunity to add unique, identifiable features to be incorporated into the new driver's license cards,Ē said Lito Vila, Maui County motor vehicle and licensing administrator, in a news release. ďThese new features enhance the integrity of the driver's license cards by better protecting the holderís personal information from tampering, alteration and fraudulent reproduction. Such attempts will be easier to identify, assisting in our continued effort to deter and prevent identity theft in our community."
Dennis Kamimura, driverís license administrator for Honolulu County, said that as of Dec. 31, there were 905,704 licensed drivers throughout the state.
Among the more noticeable license changes is one that highlights key dates for those under 21.
In 2005 the state adopted a vertical format license for drivers who are under 21 at the time the license is issued, Kamimura said. Starting Monday, a red strip on the under-21 licenses will list the dates of the license holderís 18th and 21st birthdays.
ďMost of the states, if not all of them, have passed laws requiring a person to be at least 18 in order to buy tobacco products,Ē Kamimura said. Listing the license holderís 18th birthday will make it easier for a merchant to tell at a glance if a person is old enough to buy cigarettes.
Kamimura said all driverís licensing offices across the state have been equipped with new computers and new printers to begin issuing the new-look licenses beginning Monday.
Drivers need not obtain a new license until their current one expires.
The new licenses will also comply with all federally mandated security requirements, Kamimura said.