New Bill Would Let Drivers Pick a License Picture

New Bill Would Let Drivers Pick a License Picture

Martín Di Felice

Palm Desert, CA

California State Senator Josh Newman said he was thinking outside the box when he proposed SB 1407.

The bill would give DMV visitors the chance to take several license photos and pick their favorite for a small fee. Or another option would be similar to taking a passport photo with an outside vendor. Newman said that money would go towards a grant to fund driver’s education for high school students.  

"People say wow that is an interesting idea, I would never thought of it," Newman said. "There seems to be a good market opportunity here, for people to pay a little bit more to get a better photo, a photo they can be proud of."

Joseph Strainer lives in Palm Desert and he is not proud of his license photo.

Strainer said, "It’s just a bad picture of me, it just makes me looks like I am an old man."

Think about the proposed law, like a selfie. You can take several photos and pick the one that looks the best. Newman said the extra fee will go towards a state fund, and then schools can apply to start teaching driver’s education once again. 

Darlene Sypher said she drove from San Diego to renew her license at the DMV in Palm Desert. She said the lines in San Diego are way too long, and she would pay the extra fee for the perfect picture. She said, "I know when I take photos my eyes close, and I would like to proof the one, because the last license I had was like 16 years, so you want a good one."

But besides vanity, Sypher understands the need for driver’s ed. She has taken-up a driving instructor’s role with the youth in her community.  

"I’ve done, I think 10 in all," Sypher said. "And I take them for their license so they can drive my car because they are familiar with it, it is a low-income neighborhood."

And if the bill passes, bad photos can finally have a good purpose. 

Strainer said, "If I could see my photos before I pay them, see what I like you know, yeah, yeah, you know, I just don’t like this one."

Newman said they do not have a proposed fee yet, he said Cal State Fullerton students are helping with market research to set a cost. 

He said SB 1407 will go into a Senate committee for a hearing and followed by a vote in the Senate. He said the bill would also go through the state assembly, before reaching the governor’s desk by the end of summer.