Smiling returns to Delaware driver’s license pics

A number of Delaware licenses are shown

(Courtesy of Delaware DMV)

After being discouraged from cheesing it up at the Delaware DMV for years, the smile is back. 

Starting immediately, anyone renewing his license can show off the pearly whites, if he so chooses, when a Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles employee snaps the picture.

“Having to enforce the no-smile protocol for driver license photos has been one of the most sensitive issues I’ve had to tackle as director,” said Jennifer Cohan, DMV director. “I am glad to tell everyone that those days are over.”

Earlier this month, Governor Jack Markell nominated Cohan to become the next secretary of Delaware’s Dept. of Transportation. If the state Senate confirms her, she will succeed Shailen Bhatt, who is leaving at the end of this month to take a job in Colorado. 

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Smiles were initially done away with because they confused the DMV’s facial recognition software. The program helps the DMV better prevent identity theft. A recent upgrade to the system, however, included advances in facial recognition technology, allowing for smiling faces as well as neutral expressions.

So when it comes time to renew your license, get rid of the scowl and say cheese!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal