At the standards body level, countries from around the world are participating in the efforts to standardize the drivers license. Working Group 10 within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is focused on the development of these standards. Countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Namibia, South Africa, the U.K. and the United States are participating in the effort.
Many countries have already begun the issuance of advanced drivers credentials. Using two-dimensional barcodes, contact chips, and contactless chips, a number of projects are helping to set the stage for others to evaluate and follow.
Among the most publicized programs is the contact smart card based license in India’s Gujarat State. In 1999 the Gujarat drivers license incorporated smart card technology in an effort to curb fraud. Last year, an upgraded version of the chip was added to meet the Indian government’s new specification for nationwide chip-based licensees. Called SCOSTA (Smart Card Operating System for Transport Applications), the new specification will ultimately govern the more than 100 million drivers licenses issued throughout the country as the project rolls out on a state-by-state basis
In South Africa, a 2D barcode-equipped license is being issued to the nation’s 6.5 million drivers. The 2D barcode meets the PDF417 standard and stores information including personal data, driving privilege detail, and a digital photograph.
Since 1998, the government of El Salvador has been issuing smart card drivers licenses and a separate chip-based vehicle registration and tax payment card. Since the project’s initiation, more than 3.5 million cards have been issued, and according to Olivier Chavrier, Director Marketing Gemplus ID and Security, “more than 60,000 new cards are being issued each month.” The goal of the project, says Mr. Chavrier, is to “securely identify and register both drivers and vehicles in order to combat vehicle theft, illegal importation, identity theft, and to reduce fraud related to counterfeit documents.”
Other countries, including China, Argentina, Malaysia, and the Philippines have or are currently issuing advanced smart card-enable licenses. As government’s worldwide look to technology to better curb terrorism, secure borders, increase driver safety, and reduce identification and document fraud, more and more countries will add technology to the credential issued to legal drivers.