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New Jersey Cancer Patient Wants DMV To Change Photo ID Policy

FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A woman battling stage two breast cancer isn't allowed to use her previous drivers license photo and wants to know why.

The new photo shows her with a head scarf and no hair, an image that won't reflect what she will look like as soon as she is healthy again.

As CBS2's Emily Smith reported, Joanne Jodry doesn't normally wear a scarf on her head, but she's at the beginning of chemotherapy for breast cancer. It's something she expects to put behind her by January, that's why the new photo on her license may haunt her.

"This license is for a couple of years and it won't look like me in a couple months. Can't you just use the old picture that will look more like me? She said, nope, that's not our policy," Jodry explained.

It happened at the Motor Vehicle Agency in Freehold. While stopping by to renew her expired license she had what she thought would be a simple request.

"Even if they don't change my license, they need to change it for other people. You don't want that to be your identity. Is my ID cancer?" she said.

Jodry said she know the responses she gets from strangers are out of sympathy, but to have a daily reminder of it on her license won't help her healing process.

"I had just gone with my mom a couple months ago, they said ' do you want your old photo or a new one.' She said, 'I will take an old photo and that's what they did,'" she explained.

CBS2 reached out to the DMV Media Relations Department to find out what the policy is.

The DMV follows New Jersey State Law that says a driver may renew a license using the same photo twice. That's a total of eight years. Jodry reached that limit.

She said she doesn't care what the policy is, but wants the DMV to make exceptions for people who temporarily look different.

"I understand they want to be extra cautious, but for cancer patients it should kind of be a small exception," she said.

Jodry has one option, to return to the DMV once her hair grows back and get a new photo take for $11.

When asked about making an exception for the ill the DMV said a law is a law and that the policy can't be changed.


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