Congress passed the Real ID Act of 2005 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. DMV Acting Commissioner Steven Dale said more than 30 fraudulent driver’s licenses and identification cards were traced back to the terrorists.
The Real ID Act contains strict requirements for individuals to prove their identity when applying to obtain a new driver’s license or to renew a license.
To receive a Real ID-compliant license, an individual must provide the DMV with one document for proof of identity, one document for proof of Social Security number and two documents for proof of West Virginia residency (Details are posted online at www.transportation.wv.gov/dmv/Drivers-Licenses/Pages/default.aspx)
Since July, individuals using a driver’s license or state-issued ID card to enter a secure federal facility have been required to possess a card from a Real ID-compliant state. Enforcements for individuals boarding commercial aircraft will start as early as 2017.
Deadlines were originally set in 2008 but enforcement has been pushed back several times.
In January 2012 West Virginia’s DMV began issuing:
* Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses, which have a gold star in the right top corner of the front; and
* Secure licenses, which do not meet Real ID Act requirements. These licenses bear the phrase, “Not for federal identification.”
As of the end of October the West Virginia DMV had issued 550,900 Real ID-compliant licenses and 824,531 secure licenses, Dale said.
West Virginia was among the first 13 states to begin issuing licenses that comply with the federal law. Zimmer said the law was in part modeled on West Virginia’s practices because the state was using many enhanced security procedures long before the terrorist attacks.
“What you accomplished is incredibly complex,” Zimmer said at the award ceremony. “You do a marvelous job.”
Paul Mattox Jr., secretary of the state Department of Transportation and Commissioner of the Division of Highways, praised the DMV’s employees for their “great achievement,” and said they had made West Virginia a national leader in driver issuance security.
“I am greatly pleased that the great accomplishments of this division are getting the national recognition that they so greatly deserve,” Mattox said. “Their efforts to make sure our licensing process is as secure as possible will help ensure that West Virginians can enjoy a high level of protection from identity fraud. I’d like to thank Commissioner Dale and your staff for achieving such a high level of service to the citizens of West Virginia.”
Joseph Thornton, secretary of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said information is a critical component in the quest for public safety yet “we have to be extremely sensitive to individuals’ rights on a daily basis.
“The citizens demand privacy and are owed that privacy but it’s important to us in the performance of our mission that we have adequate information,” Thornton said. “So there has got to be a balance that’s struck between collecting what is needed and necessary and trying to ensure that adequate protection measures for that information are in place to ensure that bad things don’t happen.”
Thornton said the award “is indicative of the great work that’s being performed by the DMV and Department of Transportation every day in ensuring measures are adequately and responsibly implemented and to ensure public confidence in our daily mission.”
Dale praised all of the DMV employees involved in implementing the Real ID Act, from the workers who designed the photo system to the customer service representatives and call-center employees.
When West Virginia first implemented the tougher standards, some residents complained about the identification requirements. In 2008 the state Senate passed a bill that declared West Virginia would not carry out the Real ID law. The legislation died in the House of Delegates.
By early 2013, most calls to the DMV about Real ID were not to complain but to ask questions about the required documents.
Twenty-two states now comply with the law, Zimmer said. West Virginia is the ninth state to receive the award from the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License.
Zimmer presented Certificates of Achievement to the following members of the DMV’s Central Office staff: Dale; Information Services Director Wilbur Thaxton; Executive Assistant to the Commissioner Mark Holmes; Driver Services Directors David Bolyard and Larry Cavender; Regional Offices and Call Center Director Pete Lake; and Driver’s Licensing Unit Manager Don Estep.
In addition: Information Services Coordinator Dawn Tucker; Information Services Manager Cindy Beane; Graphic Designer Jennifer Floyd; Executive Assistant to the Commissioner Natalie Holcomb; Investigations, Security and Support Services Director Dempsey Totten; Administrative Services Assistant Doreen Carpenter; Programmer Analyst Lynette Shaw; and Information Systems Manager JoAnn Twohig.
Customer service representatives who received certificates and the offices where they serve: Michele Grigoraci, Kanawha City; Eva Francis, Parkersburg; and Mary Gibson, Winfield.
Call Center customer service representatives Amanda Campbell, Donna Harmon and Amy Hazelett were honored, as were Call Center Manager Amanda Forinash and Regional Office managers David Hughes and Earl Reynolds.
Customer service representatives who did not attend the ceremony but will receive certificates: Deborah Miller, Beckley; Sam Westfall, Clarksburg; Cathy Hedrick, Elkins; Beth D’Alessio, Huntington; John McCutcheon, Moundsville; Tosha Patterson, Princeton; and Nancy Dankovchik, Weirton.
Lead customer service representatives who did not attend but will receive certificates: Christine Utt, Flatwoods; and Kelly Landers, Kanawha City.