May 6, 2002

Congressmen Introduce National Standardized Driver's License Legislation

On May 1, 2002, Reps. James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-VA) introduced H.R. 4633 the "Driver's License Modernization Act of 2002." This legislation would require all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia's motor vehicle administrations to implement uniform standards of procedure for easier information integration between these state agencies.

"This proposal is dangerous because it ventures into uncharted waters that will likely shipwreck our Constitutional right to privacy," says Caleb Kershner, HSLDA's Manager of Federal Policy and Research.

H.R. 4633 would place an encrypted microchip in every U.S. driver's license, giving individual informational access to federal, state and local governments, designated contractors and private users authorized by license holders. In an attempt to make this a true "smart card," the bill also promotes usage of the card for such programs as food stamps and voter registration.

According to HSLDA's Samuel Redfern, "H.R. 4633 is one of the most ambitious efforts by Congress in recent years to implement national identification requirements and to link state ID databases for government background checks."

HSLDA believes that this bill creates what could become a de facto national ID. Once government databases are integrated through a uniform identification card, access to sensitive personal information would likely expand. Many government entities including law enforcement, tax collection, and other agencies would want use of the data. Employers, landlords, insurers, credit agencies, mortgage brokers, direct mailers, private investigators, civil litigants, and a long list of other private parties would also seek access to this personal information as well. In the wake of such a universal card, freedom, and autonomy from an overly oppressive government would be difficult to preserve. We must weigh this reality carefully before we proceed beyond the point of no return.

HSLDA will continue to monitor this legislation and if necessary work to defeat any national ID proposal that gains serious ground in the Congress.