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Get real about drivers’ licenses

When will the federal government get real about its Real ID requirements?

Illinois and the majority of states still haven’t complied with the law years after the original deadline, and it’s not just because they don’t like the federal government telling them how to conduct business. Complying would cost the states millions of dollars – money Illinois doesn’t have and the federal government isn’t providing.

Tougher national standards for drivers’ licenses were recommended by the 9/11 Commission, and sure, in a world of unlimited resources, adding additional layers of protection against fraud might be worth considering. But state governments do have fiscal restraints, and spending millions for a marginal security improvement doesn’t make sense. Just as criminals still get guns when strict gun control laws are in place, terrorists intent of getting fake IDs would still find a way to do so despite Real ID.

The federal government has repeatedly pushed back the implementation date. However, TSA airport screeners could refuse to accept noncompliant drivers’ licenses as early as 2016. Travelers would need a passport or some other federally approved identification to board a plane if that happens.

The terrorists would love seeing America inflict that kind of chaos on its citizens and its aviation industry.

America has managed to keep flying just fine in the 10 years since the Real ID law was passed. No more extensions; it’s time to drop this requirement.