October 2, 2023
mDL is here, driver’s licenses go digital
SACRAMENTO - The California DMV is offering digital driver’s licenses that can be used to get through security checkpoints at select airports, or to buy a six-pack of beer at a liquor store.

The so-called mobile driver’s license, or mDL, was initially launched in May as part of a pilot for a small pool of people, and in early August the program was expanded.

The DMV is offering the perk for free to 1.5 million people. So far, only 100,000 have signed up, the DMV told SFGATE.

To create a mobile license, you need to download the CA DMW Wallet app from the Apple App Store or Google Play to your smartphone. Then, the app will ask for some personal information and require you to scan your REAL ID. The app uses high-tech biometrics to scan your face, in an effort to ensure that you’re creating a digital license for a living person and not scanning a photograph of a face.

The digital license does not replace a physical one and is not being used yet by law enforcement. In other words, you still need to carry your license when driving. Over two dozen airports accept the mobile license, including LAX and SFO.

You can also use the mDL at a very small number of retailers, mainly in Sacramento and Los Angeles, when purchasing items such as alcohol that require proof of age; your personal information isn’t shared.

Anita Gore, a spokesperson for the DMV, told SFGATE that the list of retailers who accept the mDL is expected to grow and restaurants and bars may accept it in the near future
Story Date: September 6, 2023
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