Politics & Government

New Kentucky driver’s licenses not ready yet. Here’s what that means for you.

‘Confident Kentucky’ licenses will be among most secure in US

Although release of the two new licenses have been delayed, a Transportation Cabinet video explains how Kentucky licenses will be more secure; their prices and differences; and when residents will have to use them and where.
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Although release of the two new licenses have been delayed, a Transportation Cabinet video explains how Kentucky licenses will be more secure; their prices and differences; and when residents will have to use them and where.

Kentucky needs more time before testing its new REAL ID driver’s license system in circuit court clerk offices, a state Transportation Cabinet official said Monday.

Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson said the state had targeted April to begin the in-office pilot testing, but “additional time is necessary” before that can begin.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, standard licenses no longer will meet the 2005 federal REAL ID Act requirements for Kentuckians to board U.S. domestic flights or enter selected federal facilities.

Once the new licenses are available this year, the next time drivers renew their current credential or those obtaining licenses for the first time will choose from one of two new versions: standard or voluntary travel ID. Voluntary travel IDs have all the benefits of a standard credential plus they are federally accepted when boarding U.S. domestic flights and entering access-restricted federal facilities.

New security standards for identity credentials were recommended by the 9/11 Commission to prevent fraudulent use and reproduction of licenses and IDs.

Kentucky has been trying to comply with the federal requirements, but it is one of the last states to comply.

Henderson said Kentucky will test its new licenses this spring in circuit court clerk offices in Woodford and Franklin counties, with new licenses available statewide by the end of summer.

Specific pilot testing dates for the two counties will be announced once they are confirmed, Henderson said, adding more counties may be added to the pilot phase. Spring this year ends June 21 and summer Sept. 23.

Henderson said testing to date has verified what works and revealed gaps that need to be addressed before introducing the system to circuit clerk offices. Most of the new system is operational, he said.

But the card vendor is working to resolve “challenges,” such as features on the licenses, Henderson said.

Meanwhile, he said, a federal extension will allow continued use of current licenses for air travel and military base access.

“We’re pleased with the positive results that have confirmed the majority of the new system is operational,” said Henderson. “Our unwavering commitment is to deliver a fully functional program to counties, and that requires flexibility. Everyone is engaged to make the new cards available.”

He said first-time cardholders and those wanting a Voluntary Travel ID should prepare for the new application process by gathering, updating and requesting required documentation now. More information about that can be found at drive.ky.gov/confidentky.

The standard driver’s license and the voluntary travel ID will be available initially in four- or eight-year intervals with the prices ranging from $21.50 to $48. More price information is available at https://drive.ky.gov/confidentKY/Pages/Cost-information.aspx.

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