KING COUNTY, WA - The Washington State Department of Licensing has begun implementation of a new digital driver license and identification card with a vertical format for people under 21 years of age. Public Health — Seattle & King County believes that the licenses, which will be issued in King County starting on June 26, will contribute to efforts to deter the sale of tobacco and alcohol to minors.
"The new licenses help retailers quickly determine the correct age of someone attempting to buy alcohol or tobacco," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "These new licenses will complement some of the other work being done in King County, like for example educating retailers not to sell tobacco to minors."
In Washington, the legal age for purchasing or possessing tobacco is 18, and the legal age for purchasing or possessing alcohol is 21.
Alcohol is a major risk factor in the three leading causes of death among adolescents: motor vehicle crashes, homicides and suicides. In terms of tobacco use, 3,000 youth begin smoking each day, and almost 90% of adult smokers began at or before the age of 18.
License for persons over age 21
License for persons under age 21
The new licenses and identification cards are created using a new digital imaging process and include various security features. The front of every card features a view of Mt. Rainier, larger and bolder printing, and a digital portrait of the individual. Printed on the back are barcodes containing machine-readable information matching the printed information on the card's face.
"Retailers will be able to scan or swipe the license and identification cards, and confirm a person's age," said Greg Hewett, Manager of Public Health's Tobacco Prevention Program.
According to the Department of Licensing, the following identifications will be valid:
- Current (old style) driver license and ID card
- New digital driver license and ID card
- New black and white temporary driver license and ID card, accompanied by an expired license
Public Health carries out a wide range of alcohol and tobacco prevention and control activities.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.8 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health - Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.