N.J. bans driver's license smiles

Sept. 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

TRENTON, N.J., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- New Jersey officials said the ban on smiling for driver's licenses is due to facial recognition software designed to prevent fraud.

Mike Horan, spokesman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, said people posing for driver's license pictures are asked to refrain from smiling or making other facial expressions so as not to confuse the facial recognition software, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Thursday.

The spokesman said the software, which was adopted in January, is designed to prevent anyone who already has a license from getting a second document under a different name.

"That could be someone trying to steal someone else's identity to get insurance benefits, or someone trying to get out of a DUI by getting a license under another name," Horan said. "This helps us weed out fraud."

Jan McKnight, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said her state also uses the software, but smiling is not a problem.

"You can smile in Pennsylvania," she said.

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