Digital driver’s licenses, which are currently existent and in use in Iowa and Delaware and set for implementation in the UK in 2018, can curtail need for drivers to reach for the printed plastic during traffic stops. Though drivers should be capable of pulling up their driver’s licenses on their smart phones and/or other devices, this should not be the practice during traffic stops. Only relevant law enforcement official(s) should utilize city-issued smart phones or other devices to verify the identity of drivers during traffic stops…

Drivers should be asked to provide their names and other demographic information and/or digital driver’s licenses could be tweaked to enable reading of biometric information that would allow officers to utilize their smart phones or other city-issued devices to identify drivers by requiring them to place their thumb or index finger on the screen of the devices. Digital driver’s licenses, especially with a biometric reading feature, can actually be more accurate and reliable in terms of identifying drivers. Best of all, it would be essentially impossible for anyone to misplace their license because they would or should all be stored in law enforcement databases and law enforcement officers would be capable of verifying existence of a license without the physical card and without the driver’s smart phone, noting that not every driver has one.

Digital driver’s licenses would calm officer apprehension and could save lives where drivers would be trained or informed via varied methods* to not reach for anything at all during traffic stops. *Methods could include televised announcements, electronic and/or traditionally mailed correspondence, etc.

Driver’s licenses and all information that an officer would need to check for during a stop should be retrievable and retrieved from the officer’s smart phone and/or from the database in the officer’s patrol car. This would improve police and public interactions and public and officer safety.