​Delaware gives digital driver's license green light

Smartphone and registration, please.

The Delaware state House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday pushing the DMV to consider issuing digital driver's licenses. The move could make Delaware the first state in the nation to provide a version of the license that motorists could present on their smartphones.

Late last year, Iowa announced a pilot plan to put licenses on phones in 2015, and it looks like Delaware is trying to catch up -- or leapfrog ahead. The resolution cites that "the State of Iowa plans to experiment with digital driver's licenses in 2015," as one of its reasons for the move and underscores that "Delaware, with its smaller population, may be in a better position to adopt new digital driver's license technology."

The two states share the same license provider, MorphoTrust, which has been working on the concept for a while now. It also serves the motor vehicle departments of 40 other states.

In an interview earlier this month, MorphoTrust vice president Jenny Openshaw said, "We anticipated this shift a of couple years ago, and are pleased that this process has reached a stage today where we are talking with many of the 42 states that we supply with physical licenses about piloting the concept. Of course, Iowa is the state that is furthest down that road."

Openshaw said that biometrics, such as fingerprints, iris or facial recognition, are being considered to add security to the digital licenses, but that it is too early to tell what will ultimately be implemented. She also mentioned using multi-factor authentication.

The digital IDs are not intended to replace physical cards outright, and the Delaware legislature is only seeking the technology as "optional, not required."

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com