REAL ID Rules: Strong Leadership by DHS Needed to Bring All States to Higher Standards for Driver's License Security

Jan 30, 2013, 16:47 ET from Coalition for a Secure Driver's License

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On January 28th, 2013, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License and the Heritage Foundation  co-hosted a panel, entitled, "REAL ID Realities: Perspectives on the Future of the REAL ID Program." Panelists included Jennifer Cohan, the Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, Lori Rectanus, Workforce and Income Security Assistant Director of the Government Accountability Office, and Andrew Meehan, Policy Director of the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License. A video of the panel is on C-SPAN's webpage.


Andrew Meehan stated, "the REAL ID Act seeks to raise the motor vehicle agencies to a minimum standard. Many states have decided to move beyond that standard while others have remained satisfied with the status quo. For the goal of secure identity to be met, all jurisdictions must participate."

Jennifer Cohan, Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), detailed Delaware's experiences meeting the security standards of the REAL ID rule. Director Cohan noted that, "going slow and steady was very crucial to our success….We recognized early on it wasn't the right thing to do because of the law, it was the right thing to do for our citizens for identity protection."

When examining its driver's license records as part of the compliance process, Delaware discovered 1,300 imposters had obtained valid driver's licenses in prior years. Ms. Cohan stated that, "most of these people had on average between nine to twenty different identities. Some of those people were actually in major crime syndicates." 

Setting the bar much higher has led to reduced driver's license fraud in Delaware.  Ms. Cohan said "when we first implemented the program, we were having probably about 3 or 4 fraudulent attempts to get driver's licenses a we've only had six attempts in the last year. So we know our system is working and we know the word about our system is out on the street and people know to not even attempt it."

Last September, GAO published a report entitled, "DRIVER'S LICENSE SECURITY Federal Leadership Needed to Address Remaining Vulnerabilities".  Ms. Rectanus, one of the GAO staff authors, said the report's purpose was "to take a look at what progress has been made over the last 10 years since September 11th? What have states and key federal agencies been doing to address some of the threats that became known at that time?" 

In its report, GAO stated that, "DHS has not always provided timely, comprehensive, or proactive guidance to help states implement provisions of the Act related to identity verification." Ms. Rectanus echoed the report by stating that, "Without proactive strategic leadership from the feds in this situation, compliance certainly could be effected…."

About the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License:

The Coalition for a Secure Driver's License is a 501 (c) (3) non-partisan, not for profit, crime prevention education public charity, supported by donor contributions from across the United States. 

The CSDL slogan, "Working to protect the identity of every American", embodies our commitment to higher standards for both government and private entities that issue identity credentials, especially state agencies that issue driver's licenses and ID cards.  CSDL undertakes research projects addressing best practices for DMVs, compliance with federal laws and regulations, identity fraud prevention and related identity management topics.  CSDL provides research results and educational programs to the public and to state and federal officials.  CSDL is a member of the Document Security Alliance and of the American National Standards Institute.

Details are available on CSDL's website at

SOURCE Coalition for a Secure Driver's License