NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 1, 2005

The chaotic and careless issuance of driver's licenses in this country has been a national scandal that threatens national security, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD). With over 350 valid driver's license designs issued by the 50 states, security officials have a difficult time distinguishing real IDs from fakes.

Consequently, states may soon be required to issue all adults federally approved electronic ID cards, including driver's licenses. Acting on the recommendations of the 9-11 commission, the House recently passed the REAL ID Act of 2005 which allows:

  • States to demand proof of an applicant's Social Security number and to verify that number with the Social Security Administration.
  • Federal employees to reject licenses or identity cards that do not meet the new federal standards, blocking access to airplanes, trains, national parks, federal courthouses and other areas controlled by the federal government.

Those who argue that this is a matter for the individual states forget that a terrorist with a license from one state threatens citizens in every state. At least two courts have said a driver's license is not a constitutional right and that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege. A national ID card would not be a privilege, but would serve as a more reliable and independent identification tool, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Guarding Against Mistaken Identity," Investor's Business Daily, February 23, 2005.


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