Iowa to offer an official driver’s license app in 2015

Iowans soon won’t have to worry about forgetting their driver’s licenses — if they’ve got their smartphone on hand. The Iowa Department of Transportation is working on a free app which will allow Iowans to use their smartphone instead of a plastic driver’s license, the Des Moines Register reports.

The app will be available in 2015, Iowa DOT director Paul Trombino said during a public hearing on Monday. The hope is that it will be “basically your license on your phone” — so you’ll be able to hand over your handset instead of a plastic license at traffic stops and at airports.

The “identity vault app” will be “highly secure” and will be locked by a pin number. Iowa already allows its citizens to carry registration and proof of insurance on an electronic device.

One improvement over plastic IDs is that the driver’s face won’t be a static image and will rotate from side to side, offering a more complete look at the driver than what the traditional license mugshot provides.

Iowa’s Department of Transportation is currently the listed vendor for five apps available on the iOS App Store and Google Play. Its flagship app, Iowa 511, has a four star rating from 386 reviews.

Obviously, there are still a lot of questions: How secure will the app be? Will it be available for all mobile operating systems — including less popular ones such as Windows Phone? Will automatic screen rotation befuddle luddite cops when you hand over your device? Will Iowans be able to use their device as identification when they leave the Hawkeye State? And most importantly, will bouncers accept an iPhone as a valid form of identification so you can enter the bar?