New driver's licenses to debut by end of year

One change: Licenses for drivers under 21 will be vertical

The state Department of Driver Services is preparing to issue new licenses and non-driver identification cards embedded with security features to make them harder to fake.

Drivers renewing licenses can expect to see the new designs by the end of the year.

Current Georgia licenses and ID cards will remain valid until they expire.

Fees will not increase and drivers can continue to choose between a five-year or 10-year license.

It is the first new license design since 1996 and employs such features as a laser-engraved signature over the driver's primary photo and tamper-resistant coating.

"We are very excited about these innovative changes allowing Georgians to have one of the most secure cards in the nation," DDS Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier said in a statement issued by the governor's office Thursday.

Adult drivers will not be the only ones seeing changes in their licenses.

The new licenses for drivers under 21 will be printed vertically. The new license is designed to aid retailers and police in identifying minors.

"There will be no reason to mistake that they are under 21, because you'd hold it up vertically," DDS spokeswoman Susan Sports said.

The cards will be produced in Conyers, Locust Grove and Covington starting in September. "That initial production will be to ensure everything is working correctly, then we'll roll it out statewide," Sports said.

The licenses will be available at DDS locations.

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