Young woman showing her driver's license

Thank goodness my current Idaho Driver's license doesn't expire until 2022.

Apparently if I had taken the same photo that's currently on my license today, the DMV would ask me to retake it because my smile is too "toothy."  According to the Idaho Statesman, the state quietly started regulating how Idahoans smile in their driver's license photos last fall.  Your photo is now supposed to show you with an expressionless face.  You may use a pleasant smile in which the sides of your mouth are upturned, but your lips remain closed.

So why the change? Does the state really have nothing better to do than regulate how we look in a picture we could be stuck with for eight years? Not exactly, the state of Idaho is preparing to use a new type of facial recognition software that will help stay on top of identity theft.  Once it's turned on, the DMV will be able to run a scan through license pictures in the database to make sure someone with the same face isn't getting ID cards or licenses under different aliases.  The state plans to keep all the information gathered through the software in state, but a few agencies like out of state law enforcement make request info if it's needed.

75% of states use some form of facial-recognition software in their DMVs, but only three (Virginia just repealed their's two years ago) other states use the no-smile policy for licenses.

I had to pull my license out to see if I had a "toothy grin" in my photo and sure enough, I do.  And I'm happy I chose to renew my license for eight years and get to keep a semi decent photo of myself!

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