Department of Motor Vehicles Director Duane Bannock returned home recently to brief the Kenai Chamber of Commerce on some of the changes his department has undergone since he took over as Director. "Were doing our best to get the DMV into the twentieth century at least and maybe sneak up on the twenty first here real soon," joked Bannock. One of Bannock's favorite projects has been new license plates, especially the new Alaska plates that say "I Support Our Veterans." "We like to call it the Veteran commemorative plate, which is a special license plate with a special design that when you buy this license plate to proudly display your support for our Vets, a portion of what you pay to the DMV will go directly into Veteran Homes. There is an additional $100 charge for this plate and that $100, by statute, goes straight to Veterans Homes in Alaska. It's our way of saying thank you to our Veterans here in Alaska," said Bannock.
DMV Director Duane Bannock shows the new prototype Alaskan Drivers license.
Another major change at DMV is going to be what Alaskan drivers licenses look like, especially if you're under the age of 21, "This is good news for folks who rely on drivers licenses for age verification, it's good news for parents, but I guess it's bad news for young people who are trying to fake their id's to buy things they shouldn't be buying, because the card itself will be printed in a vertical, up and down, format if you are under 21, compared to the regular horizontal format, so that the vendor, clerk, or whoever will be able to tell just the way they hold the card that the person is under 21 years of age," said Bannock. There will also be major changes in the driver's licenses for everyone over 21, "We refer to it as our new digital driver's license. Digital because it's a new digital picture, the driver's licenses of today are really nothing more than a Polaroid picture superimposed and laminated in plastic. Our new license is more like a credit card style with your image literally burned on to the plastic and makes them much more difficult to alter," added Bannock. The new digital cards are now available at local DMV's but there is a planned phase in of the new cards where old licenses won't be renewed without going to a DMV to get the new card. Anyone wishing to upgrade prior to the license expiration date is welcome to do so according to Bannock.
Other priorities for the director include shortening the lines at DMV offices and continuing to streamline the way in which the department of motor vehicles does business in Alaska, "I'm very thankful to be given the opportunity by this administration to implement changes so that we are not a 1970's DMV any longer," said Bannock.
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