What is Driver License Verification?

Driver licenses are official documents, traditionally made of plastic and shaped like a credit card. These cards allow specific individuals to operate one or more vehicles, including motorcycles, cars, buses, or trucks. Driver license verification is the process of validating that the card user is the person to whom the license was issued.

Drivers' licenses are often the target 0f criminals, who use the information to steal the card holder's identity. In addition, criminals often use the data to perform fraudulent activities, using the name and information of the person to whom the license was issued. 

To prevent such criminal activities, governments worldwide make changes to cards designed to provide better security. In addition, there are several ways to validate the driver's identity, including manual, electronic, and online driver license verification methods.

In this article, you will learn:

A Quick Guide to Driver License Documents

USA Drivers License

driver license verification

Since there is no national ID, each state or territory issues a driver's license for its residents, becoming their primary form of identification. Many states will issue a vertical driver's license to minors until they reach the legal age of twenty-one (21) when the orientation changes to horizontal. Making this change creates a visual difference between the licenses that help distinguish between minors and adults.

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In the USA, driver's licenses are commonly used to complete governmental and business transactions. Consequently, these cards are often stolen or faked. As a result, governments have modified these cards over the years, adding features like barcodes, social security numbers, fingerprints, magnetic strips, and holograms to reduce forgery and identity theft.

EU Drivers License

driver license verification

European driving licenses are issued by the 27 member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the three EFTA member states—Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. The driver licenses share standard features—a credit card style that includes a microchip and a photo. These cards replaced 110 types of plastic and paper cards previously used by over 300 million European drivers. 

The main goal of the new license is to reduce the risk of fraud. The new card can also help users of different languages to understand the information on the license. Each data field on the card is designated with a number. Furthermore, on the back of the card, there is a legend written in the language of the issuing authority.

A European driver license typically contains the following information:

  • Surname and other names
  • Date of issue and expiry
  • Issuing authority
  • Date of birth, place of birth, and address
  • Car license number
  • Signature of holder
  • Photograph of holder
  • License categories and first issuing date of the category
  • License restrictions coded as numbers

3 Driver License Verification Methods

Manual Driver License Check

An example of manual driver license checks is the legal requirement in many countries for owners of vehicle fleets to verify that their drivers have a valid license.

The fleet manager is typically responsible for verifying the validity of licenses and other features like watermarks and typeface. First, managers must check the original license—facsimiles are prohibited. Then, after a thorough inspection, it must be recorded in a legal and compliant manner. 

There are document templates available for recording driver license inspections. To complete the document, the fleet manager copies the original license and places it in the driver's file. Even if they manually verify the driver's license, they must ensure files are stored in a way that does not allow access to any third party.

This inspection method may seem simple, but it can take significant time and effort even with a small fleet of 20 or 30 vehicles. Managers need to schedule appointments with individual drivers, organize inspection documents, and securely record and archive results during the process.

Similarly, other procedures requiring physical inspection of driver licenses consume significant time and resources.

Electronic Driver License Check

There are several options for checking driver licenses electronically to continue the example of fleet driver license checks. For instance, company motorists scan their driver's licenses at certain checkpoints or perform their license checks through apps on smartphones or desktop computers. However, available technologies vary widely in terms of safety standards and inspection procedures.

One legally sound option is to conduct an electronic driver's license check. This requires that the card includes an RFID chip. A reader owned by the company can encrypt, decode and verify the driver's license. Although this process is technically complex, it provides a high level of security. Drivers can verify licenses independently with no need for the involvement of other employees. This can save a great deal of time, especially for large fleets.

Online Driver License Check

Online driver license checks may not be valid for a fleet scenario but can be used for many other circumstances in which driver licenses are used as an ID to verify identity.

Online driver license checks allow users to verify their identity via a driver's license digitally for identification purposes. Here are a few types of transactions that commonly use driver license checks, especially in the USA:

  • Telecom providers registering new customers
  • Banks or organizations are creating new accounts or accepting mortgage applications.
  • Real estate brokers signing rental agreements
  • Insurance companies issuing new policies
  • Companies hiring new employees to work remotely

Remote authentication can save time while creating a more efficient process because customers can complete applications anytime, anywhere.

ID verification technologies typically work by scanning identity documents, identifying the alphanumeric data in the record, and matching the name on the contract with the name on the ID, ensuring that only the named individual can view and sign the contract.

Driver License Data Compliance

The data on driver's licenses are usually considered private, sensitive information. Depending on the issuing authority, a driver's license may contain the driver's name, birth date, address. Criminals can use this information to steal the identity of the driver, open lines of credit in their names, and perform other fraudulent activities even though the majority of USA states have removed Social Security numbers (SSN) from driver licenses. However, the driver's license still contains sensitive information to help a persistent thief get the license owner's SSN.

Security measures to protect driver license data

At a minimum, the driver's license information should always use a form of encryption when the data is at rest and in transit. In addition, access management systems should control access to servers storing driver license images, granting access only to authorized parties with the least privileged principle enforced.

Developers should also participate in overall efforts to protect driver's license information. For example, ensuring the data is stored only on hardened databases and ensuring websites accepting driver license information are protected against common web application attacks.

Compliance requirements

When possible, companies should avoid storing driver license images. Some regulations, like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), require specific measures to be taken when storing images or prohibiting the storage of driver license images altogether. 

When handling driver license numbers, companies should consult with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which offers suggestions and information about policies that determine how sensitive customer information should be handled.

Using third-party providers

An excellent way to avoid the risks and complexities involved in storing driver license information is to use a third-party service for driver license verification, compliant with the relevant regulations and standards. This way, the third-party service stores driver's license information and takes responsibility for the appropriate security measures.

Drivers License Verification with BlueCheck

BlueCheck's industry-leading identity verification infrastructure enables merchants to grow their business faster. As we serve a wide variety of industries, our solutions are custom-tailored to the unique needs of our customers, including PACT Act and eCommerce compliant offerings.

Download Free eBook Schedule a call with a BlueCheck specialist to learn more about our Age & ID Verification solutions. Ask about price savings when bundled with Payment Processing services.