Bill Introduced in Illinois House Proposes Digital Driver's Licenses For Illinois Residents

Drivers would be able to legally present the digital version in lieu of a physical driver's license when requested by law enforcement during a traffic stop or checkpoint.

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A bill in the Illinois House of Representatives proposes giving residents the option of having a digital driver's license, which could bring the days of needing to have your license in your wallet to an end.

The legislation, introduced by Illinois Rep. Kam Buckner, would allow drivers to legally present a digital version of their driver's license when requested by law enforcement during a traffic stop or checkpoint.

House Bill 1110 defines a "digitized driver's license" as a data "file available on any mobile device that has connectivity to the internet through an application that allows the mobile device to download the data file from the Secretary of State, contains all of the data elements visible on the face and back of a driver's license and displays the current status of the license." A digital copy, photograph or image of a driver's license not downloaded through the application on a mobile device isn't considered a digitized driver's license under the proposal.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias previously expressed support for a digital driver's license and has pledged to work with lawmakers to pass the legislation.

“A mobile driver’s license will make it easier, faster and more convenient for people who don’t have the time to wait at driver’s license facilities or for the mail to arrive,” Giannoulias said in a 2021 campaign news release. “With more people using mobile wallets and boarding passes for flight travel on their phone, a digital license is a logical next step when it comes to providing proof that you’re qualified to drive and also using it at bars, grocery stores, banks and doctor’s offices.”

At the time, Giannoulias said digital driver's licenses wouldn't totally replace plastic ones, but instead would serve as a supplement. In addition, both physical driver's licenses and state identification cards would remain options for drivers.

As of Thursday, the bill remains under debate in the House of Representatives.

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