Here's Why New Jersey Banned Smiling In Driver's Licenses

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Photo: Carl Lender via flickr

Apparently it’s only the huge smiles they’re worried about, otherwise known as an “I just won the lottery” smile, according to the Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles.It distorts your face so much so that their facial ID software has difficulty recognising you for you.

Dana DiFilippo of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that the software was in place, along with the ban, since January, it’s just that no one cared to really smile until now. And who can blame them, who’s smiling in a DMV in New Jersey?

The insistent smiler was one Velvet S. McNeil, who walked out of the DMV in a huff when they told her she couldn’t smile.

“Why should we all look like androids, looking mopey? I know there are some people who don’t have good driver’s licenses, but I actually keep all mine,” McNeil told the Daily, flashing a half dozen different state ID cards.

The manager of the DMV gave McNeil an unsatisfactory explanation, so she left. 

“That could be someone trying to steal someone else’s identity to get insurance benefits, or someone trying to get out of a DUI by getting a licence under another name,” Mike Horan, spokesman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission told the Daily. “This helps us weed out fraud.”

Pennsylvania and Delaware both use facial ID software, but smiling is allowed.

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