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New California Bill Would Allow Drivers to Choose License Photos

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Everyone hates their driver’s license photo. It’s a sad fact of life we all have to put up with. Who looks their best after waiting for two hours in a crowded, dingy government office under fluorescent lights? Nobody, that’s who. Luckily, drivers in California might soon be able to choose their driver’s license photos – with a catch. Is this taxpayer money well spent, or a case of old-fashioned Californian vanity?

A new bill has been put forward in the California State Legislature which would allow drivers to choose the photo that ultimately ends up on their licenses. SB1407, as the bill is called, was introduced by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) and would allow California driver’s license holders to take up to three different photos at the Department of Motor Vehicles office and select the one they like the best.

As if that’s not enough for Californians to satisfy their narcissism, the bill also contains a provision which would allow drivers to have their driver’s license photos to be taken ahead of time at a state-approved photography center. Of course, using one’s own photo comes with an extra fee, although that amount has yet to be determined. Revenue from those fees would be directed towards driver’s education courses for California public schools.

John Moreno, public policy manager for AAA Northern California, says the bill might seem like nothing but vanity on the surface, but is actually a sound way to fund chronically underfunded driver’s ed courses:

AAA believes everyone deserves the right to have a driver’s license photo that reflects the best possible version of themselves. And while drivers aren’t required to pay a single dollar more at the DMV under this bill, those who choose to pay a small fee for extra photos will be supporting driver’s education programs for new drivers. We applaud Senator Newman for finding a creative solution to fund driver’s education programs.

The bill passed its first hurdle this week after it cleared the California State Senate Transportation Committee. It will now go on to both the State Senate and House for a general vote.

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