Having a digital driver's license on your phone could come in handy, but don't expect to flash your phone to a cop; that's not going to work.

Iowans will have the option of having a digital driver's license on their phones beginning next year. It won't replace the hard plastic card we all carry, however. You'll still need to carry that one too. It could come in handy if you need proof of ID getting a drink in a bar though.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, state decision-makers have launched a pilot program to make digital drivers' licenses, or a mobile ID, available for download on both Android and Apple devices sometime in 2022. Iowa is among several states considering a program or have already launched versions of licensees on smartphone devices. 

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The plan is to test devices using about 100 DOT workers for the next year. Iowans will have the option to have a digital license, but we'll all still need a hard copy too.

The DOT is working with technology vendors to address security and privacy concerns, and to ensure a digital ID can be accepted by retail establishments and other places where identification or proof of age or address are required. 

There won't be an additional charge for the mobile ID app in the first year, but after that, there will be a $4.99 charge paid directly to the app vendor in addition to the state’s driver’s license fee. The new digital driver’s license also will meet the Transportation Security Administration’s REAL ID that will be required for boarding an airplane or entering a federal building after May 3, 2023, if all the proper steps were taken for its issuance. That could come in handy.

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