New driver license ringtail needs a name

‘Name the Ringtail’ contest starts this week

PHOENIX – The ringtail, incorporated into the new Arizona driver license background image as a security feature, needs a nickname.

This week, the Arizona Department of Transportation is kicking off the “name the ringtail” contest to solicit ideas on what to call the critter. The ringtail – officially designated as the state mammal – is included among the security features on the newly designed driver license. Ringtails are cat-sized carnivores, resembling a small fox with a long raccoon-like tail. Almost wholly nocturnal, they are expert climbers found throughout the state.

Drawing of the ringtail that appears on the new AZ driver license

Beginning June 16, the ADOT Motor Vehicle Division is expanding central credential issuance to all offices statewide, meaning that customers visiting a Motor Vehicle Division or Authorized Third Party office to obtain a new driver license or identification card will leave with a temporary credential. The permanent license or identification card will be mailed to the customer, and received within 15 days.

Coupled with that, ADOT is launching a new, high-security credential format. Both changes are designed to protect against identity theft.

In addition to the to-be-named ringtail, security features of the new license and identification card include:

  • A larger primary portrait with a smaller redundant ghost portrait ensuring customer appearance is clearly reflected.
  • A high-security, design comprised of unique Arizona geological features in the background created through the use of Guilloche innovative symmetry. A Guilloche design involves techniques consisting of intricate, repetitive patterns that are interwoven to prevent counterfeiting, altering or other fraudulent use, thus making for a more secure credential.
  • A laser perforation in the shape of Arizona, which when held up to the light is used to quickly authenticate the credential.
  • Tactile date of birth field to assist in authenticating the credential using the sense of touch. The date in this field will have a raised feel to it.
  • Tri-color Optically Variable Device consisting of the state outline, the state name “Arizona,” the state seal, a saguaro cactus and a star. This laminate overlay provides the final layer of the credential and provides one more feature for authentication.

While there are no prizes for this contest, beyond bragging rights, visitors to the website can suggest a nickname for the ringtail and vote on the suggestions submitted by others. The contest runs through June 6.

 According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, the ringtail was named the state mammal in 1986.