DMV law changes For 2014

by Joshua on January 09, 2014

From New Year’s resolutions to new adventures, the turning of the year is a time of change for everyone. Like individuals, policies change also. This year make yourself familiar with some changes that will affect DMV laws which govern licensing of drivers by reviewing the information at Yearly DMV law changes often get overlooked, because they are not highly publicized and at the first of the year many minds are on a million other things. Whether you’re a new driver or not these changes are important to familiarize oneself with. To remain in the dark of general laws or law changes can spell potential trouble should you find yourself in violation of them.

The Real ID Act

21 states will be compliant as the Real ID Act goes into effect in 2014. The real ID Act will require all ID’s and driver’s licenses to comply with a minimum security standard set by the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to these standards a nationally uniform bar card is required to be on the back of the card, security device, and a star must be shown in the upper right corner. The star certifies that the ID has the approval of the TSA and that your identity is verified. Without a Real ID issued by your state you will not be permitted on commercial aircrafts, or into federal buildings and zones. Requirements of a Real ID are:

  • Full legal name
  • Residential address
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • Driver’s license/identification card number
  • Digital front-facing photograph
  • Signature

In addition to the Real ID the paperwork and documentation required to be submitted to obtain a license or ID have also changed. You must now submit:

  • A photo ID, or non-photo ID that contains applicant’s full legal name and birth date
  • Valid birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of citizenship, or proof of legal stay within the country.

The following states have already submitted to compliance with the Real ID Act:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Commercial Driver’s Licenses

As of 2014 all commercial drivers with a vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds must obtain a valid Medical Examiner’s (ME) Certificate. Commercial drivers requiring a CDL must meet two other requirements. On or before January 30, 2014, all CDL holders have to declare to their State Driver Licensing Agency that they operate or expect to operate in 1 of 4 categories, this is called self-certification. CDL holders must provide their SDLA with a copy of their ME Certificate. This will be added to State driving records of CDL drivers. Non-CDL do not have to submit their ME. Any driver operating outside of their certification will have their license revoked. Also all CDL drivers who do not submit and ME will be downgraded. These changes will apply to all 50 U.S. states.

Other States with Significant License Changes

  • California- In 2014 California will begin issuing driver’s licenses to those who can not display proof of legal admittance or residence in the U.S.
  • Colorado- Beginning this year those with no prior DUI or DWAI, who have had their licenses revoked for refusal to submit to field sobriety testing or breathalyzer will be able to be reinstated after 2 months, with the issuance of an ignition interlock device. In addition those currently experiencing revocation due to refusal may be able to be reinstated in 2 months.
  • Illinois – Under Kelsey’s Law drivers under 18 are prohibited from obtaining a driver’s license if the driver has unresolved citations while holding a Graduated Driver’s License.
  • Iowa- Drivers between 14 and 16 will be required to drive under a learner’s permit for 6 months to a year, which is twice the time required before 2014.
  • Maine – The state of Maine will be requiring more intensive driver education requirements beginning in December of 2014, so drivers still have close to a year before these new requirements go into effect.
  • Maryland – This year drivers presenting foreign documents without accompanying valid U.S. documentation will be required to make an appointment through the motor vehicle administration website. This appointment can only be made by first contacting the Comptroller’s Office, which can be contacted via the internet. The following additional steps are encouraged before applying:
  • Apply for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number with the IRS
  • File State Income Taxes for the past 2 years
  • Apply for and obtain identification (valid, current foreign passport)
  • Obtain two residencies, like residential leases, utility bills, or bank statements
  • Study for the knowledge test.

Driver’s Licenses and the requirements to obtain them vary drastically from state to state. State license laws are subject to frequent change, which is important to be aware of. There are few laws that truly apply nationally, as most states modify general national laws. If you are interested in possible law changes in your state and do not see it listed, each state has its own DMV website which can be accessed individually or through the national DMV website database. 2014 will see widespread licensing changes, as well as many state law changes. It is important to be informed of these laws so that you can abide by them and stay on the right side of the law.

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