ADOT enhances security of driver license application process

Facial recognition technology used to deter identity theft and fraud

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation is taking an active role in curbing identity theft and fraud by implementing facial recognition technology in the application process for state-issued credentials.

An applicant for a new or duplicate driver license or state ID card at an ADOT Motor Vehicle Division or Authorized Third Party office will have their photo taken at the beginning of the process. Facial recognition during the “Photo First” review process occurs seamlessly and without delay as the customer continues through the application process.

In 2012, ADOT Motor Vehicle Division implemented a Photo First approach to aid in the detection of and prevention of fraud, forgery and identity theft. In 2014, ADOT Motor Vehicle Division implemented Central Credential Issuance, eliminating credentials being issued at the MVD or Authorized Third Party offices. Both processes have contributed to a more comprehensive review of applications along with providing more time to identify possible fraudulent submissions.

One of the best screening formats in the detection of identity theft, attempted fraud or forgery in the application process has always been the ADOT Motor Vehicle Division customer service representatives who initially review all documents submitted in the application packet. During this initial screening process of the application packet by ADOT employees, possible file errors or fraudulent submissions are detected.

“Facial recognition technology supports the commitment by ADOT to protect the privacy of its customers, and to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the credential issuance process,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “This technology enables us to fight against fraud and identity theft.”

The technology provides an effective screening method to identify errors in customer records in the state driver license database and to prevent fraudulent attempts to obtain an Arizona driver license or identification card. It also allows ADOT to develop the new federally compliant Voluntary Travel ID according to the requirements outlined in the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.

When a credential application record generates an alert resulting from the facial recognition technology, the system will automatically perform an additional review of the record to identify and correct any possible file errors. If the system verifies it is not a file error, the record will then undergo a comprehensive review by personnel in the ADOT Office of the Inspector General.

“This technology allows us to take a proactive approach to protecting people’s identities and stopping fraud,” said ADOT Assistant Director Terry Conner, who leads the Enforcement and Compliance Division. “Our detectives are already working investigations after reviewing reliable information provided by the system.”

For more information about applying for an Arizona driver license or ID card, please visit: