HELENA – Montana Department of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Division is gaining national recognition for its efforts to educate the public about real ID drivers licenses and ID cards.
The Coalition for a Secure Drivers License, a nonprofit that advocates for secure IDs, awarded Montana’s MVD with a Public Engagement Excellence Award.
This week, MVD launched a public information campaign involving TV ads, radio announcements and a new website aimed at educating the public about the ID changes.
Starting this January, Montanans can purchase a real ID license that complies with the federal Real ID Act of 2005. The new ad campaign features famed explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they navigate through a modern-day Montana and run into obstacles without having the updated identification.
Brian Zimmer, president of the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, lauded MVD and the Montana DOJ for the advanced website that helps people understand how to buy the new ID. MVD developed the campaign in partnership with Montana State University Billings, where students worked on the campaign and wrote scripts for the TV and radio ads.
“We thought that people would really be able to identify with Lewis and Clark right away. They would know who they were and they’re recognizable faces. Adding that with a little bit of humor has helped us engage the public,” Sarah Garcia, MVD administrator, said.
The switch to a real ID is voluntary, but without one it won’t be possible to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities unless you have a passport after Oct. 1, 2020.
The cost to upgrade to a real ID varies depending on if you are renewing or getting a license for the first time. You can calculate the fees on the new real ID website.
-Jacob Fuhrer reporting for MTN News