Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015

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Date: Thursday, December 11th, 2014, 14:30
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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If you live in Iowa, you’ll soon be able to use your smartphone as your driver’s license.

Per the Des Moines Register, Iowans will soon be able to use a mobile app on their smartphones as their official driver’s license issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The app, which will be provided to drivers at no additional cost, will be available sometime in 2015, DOT Director Paul Trombino told Gov. Terry Branstad during a state agency budget hearing Monday.


“We are really moving forward on this,” Trombino said. “The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation.”

People will still be able to stick a traditional plastic driver’s license in their wallet or purse if they choose, Trombino said. But the new digital license, which he described as “an identity vault app,” will be accepted by Iowa law enforcement officers during traffic stops and by security officers screening travelers at Iowa’s airports, he said.

“It is basically your license on your phone,” he said.

Branstad, who conducted a series of budget hearings on Monday for a host of state agencies in preparation for the 2015 legislative session, marveled at the DOT’s plans. He noted that even Iowa children are now working on digital development projects.

The new app should be highly secure, Trombino said. People will use a pin number for verification.

“Having this really allows people to protect their identify,” he added, suggesting the technology could be expanded for other types of state licenses.

Iowa is already one of more than 30 states that allow motorists to show electronic proof of insurance during a traffic stop. Rather than digging through clutter in your glove compartment for an insurance card, you can simply hand the law enforcement officer your mobile phone.

Trombino said it’s only logical for the Iowa DOT to develop a mobile driver’s license app as more and more Iowans rely on their smartphones to conduct routine business. He pointed to the watch on his wrist as one example of a device that many younger Iowans have replaced by using their smartphones.

The digital driver’s license is just one example of the Iowa DOT’s push towards expanded use of new technology. The transportation agency has already installed dashboard cameras on snowplows and it is expanding a program for “paperless construction projects.” The DOT is also expanding driver’s license kiosk locations, and it has experimented with a new method for accelerated bridge construction through modular construction.

If you live in Iowa and have a chance to see this in action, let us know about your experience in the comments.

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9 Responses to “Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015”

  1. RT @JasonOGrady: Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015 http://t.co/FkueAugPBm

  2. RT @JasonOGrady: Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015 http://t.co/FkueAugPBm

  3. cool http://t.co/nXotQI5dQ9

  4. RT @JasonOGrady: Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015 http://t.co/FkueAugPBm

  5. Sounds like a good plan. Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015: http://t.co/blE7FurNVZ

  6. RT @JasonOGrady: Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015 http://t.co/FkueAugPBm

  7. Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015 http://t.co/GN8nb63pFJ

  8. Very Cool->Iowa 1st state to launch #smartphones as #drivers #licenses via app in 2015-What say you @WisconsinDOT ? http://t.co/3l1TF4875R

  9. RT @theUCbuyer: Iowa to become first state to launch smartphones as drivers licenses via mobile app in 2015 http://t.co/GN8nb63pFJ