Del. DMV is Bringing the Smiles Back - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. DMV is Bringing the Smiles Back

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DOVER, Del.- The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) says it is bringing smiles back to pictures on licenses.

Starting immediately, the DMV says any person renewing their license will be permitted to crack a toothy grin - if that's their style - when the DMV snaps their picture.

DMV Director Jennifer Cohan explains, "Having to enforce the no-smile protocol for driver license photos has been one of the most sensitive issues I've had to tackle as Director. I am glad to tell everyone that those days are over! Now that a smiling expression is permissible again I can't wait to see all the smiling faces of our customers as they get their new license."

A recent upgrade to DMV's driver licensing issuance system, including advances in facial recognition technology, allows for the acceptance of a smiling face as well as a neutral expression. The "smile" was originally suspended so software could better prevent identity theft.

Background on Delaware Driver License Renewal:

A new driver licensing renewal process was started in January 2012, aimed at reducing the frequency that Delaware residents will need to visit their local DMV Office. At that time, the DMV began issuing driver licenses for a period of up to eight (8) years to some drivers, an extension of the traditional maximum of five (5) years.

The number of licensed drivers in Delaware has increased by nearly 100,000 in just the last ten years. The current total is approximately 675,000. The growing number of licensed drivers combined with equally rising numbers of registered vehicles, is projected to put increasing strain on the state's ability to provide fast and efficient customer service to DMV customers. The extension to eight year renewals will allow for future growth of licensees while reducing the frequency with which customers will need to visit DMV.

The DMV website features a special information section on the license renewal process and a toll free help desk line is available for anyone with questions on the program at 1-877-477-7117.

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