California Driver's License Bill Would Protect You from a Stupid Photo

By: Kyle Magin February 26, 2018
Have you ever taken a bad driver's license photo? A proposed bill would allow you to re-take a dumb shot at the California DMV—for a price.
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A driver’s license photo can be like a mirror, reflecting an open-mouthed version of yourself looking directly into the camera flash, with a bad hair day to top it all off. In most states, that moment in time is flatteringly frozen for the life of your ID.

One California legislator is hoping to help Golden State drivers by capitalizing on their vanity, offering the chance for an instant re-do of their bad license photos when they apply for new credentials at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office—for a cost.

On Feb. 16, state Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) introduced Senate Bill 1407, which would allow Californians the right to re-do their hair, purse their lips, and take a non-embarrassing second (or third, or fourth) driver’s license photo for a yet-to-be-determined, per-photo price. At the end of the so-called photo shoot, the applicants will get to choose which photo they’d like to have on their driver’s license. The bill is currently under consideration in the Senate.

“Recall your last experience going to the DMV,” Newman told Capital Public Radio. “You finally get to that point in line where they snap your picture and you might or might not be ready for it and they might or might not show it to you before you get it. But you get what you get. So many of us get photos that aren’t particularly flattering and you have no choice these days but to show that photo to everybody.”

Newman’s bill would funnel profits from the additional photo service into a state “driver education and training fund,” which would go towards Driver’s Ed programs in California’s public schools, including funding for teens summer driving school. Newman said the financial reinvigoration of public school Driver's Ed programs would benefit young drivers who don’t have the means to enroll in increasingly expensive private driver education programs.

“Working class families can’t afford to send their kids to private Driver’s Ed,” Newman told Sacramento’s Fox40. “Drivers who don’t take Driver’s Ed tend to be worse drivers for their first decade of driving.”

In addition to allowing extra photos for people who are extra, Newman’s legislation would allow state residents to have their images taken by a licensed third-party vendor, a la passport photos, and submit them to the CA DMV for use on a driver’s license or identification card.

Californians who are really serious about a flawless driver’s license photo already have a mark to shoot for: perfect-lighting-and-hair enthusiast Khloe Kardashian.

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