A new app set to launch within the next two weeks will allow Louisiana drivers to store a valid digital copy of their driver’s license on their smartphone.
La Wallet—or Louisiana digital driver’s license—will be available statewide, thanks to a public-private partnership as well as a state law amended during the 2016 Legislative session.
That law—Act 625 by Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge—authorizes Louisiana drivers to carry a digitized copy of their license provided by the Office of Motor Vehicles, as an alternative to a physical license.
It also prohibits law enforcement officers from issuing a citation at a traffic stop or checkpoint to anyone who presents a digital license in lieu of a physical copy.
Priced at $5.99, the app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, says Envoc President Calvin Fabre, whose company produced the app and is working in partnership with OMV and State Police.
Louisiana’s launch of the digital license leapfrogs the state ahead of others in releasing a smartphone app for driver’s licenses, says Paige Paxton, an OMV field administrator who led the project for the agency. The national motor vehicle association, she adds, has talked for some time about the adoption of digitized licenses.
The state agency anticipates the app will launch as soon as the end of this week, though Paxton warns it could take a bit longer. The app is currently under review by Apple and Google.
The arrival of La Wallet doesn’t mean Louisiana drivers should toss their physical licenses just yet, says Paxton, as drivers, at least for now, must still carry a hard copy. Though state police is already on board with adopting the digital license as a valid ID, other involved state agencies are still working to adopt the digital system.
Another important note: A digital license won’t work when it comes to boarding an aircraft.
Fabre and business partner Chad LaCour ultimately hope other states, as well as the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and the federal TSA, will ultimately recognize the license as a valid form of ID.
“Every bar, casino, restaurant and convenience store should be able to accept this license,” says LaCour, a local dentist who brought the idea to Envoc seven years ago and has worked with the company to make it available to the public. Amending state law to include digital licenses was part of that process.
Envoc, which partners with the OMV on other state projects, used its own money to finance the development of the technology and will retain the proceeds generated from the sale of the app.
Baton Rouge-based cyber security firm Ballast tested La Wallet for potential weaknesses, says Fabre, adding the technology is designed to safeguard users drivers against breaches of privacy and from fraud.