Since January, smiling in your driver’s license photo has been banned in New Jersey — and nobody seemed to notice (or care) until now.
In New Jersey, there’s not a whole lot to smile about — the brown water, the West Nile, Snooki. All of these things can lead to a perpetual frown.
Regardless, a Sicklerville woman was all smiles when she went to have her driver’s license photo taken on Tuesday, but was told by the manager of the Motor Vehicles Commission office in Cherry Hill to wipe the smile off her face — and now she’s pissed.
“Why should we all look like androids, looking mopey? I know there are
some people who don’t have good driver’s licenses, but I actually keep
all mine,” Velvet McNeil told the Philadelphia Daily News.
January, the state got new facial recognition software to identify
potential fraudsters trying to use another person’s information to get
state ID — if the system recognizes a face attached to a different
name, it alerts MVC officials.
“Big smiles,” apparently,
interfere with the software’s recognition system. “Slight smiles,” MVC
spokesman Mike Horan says, are OK.
“Hey-I-won-the-lottery-type smiles” are not allowed, Horan says, adding that “to get an
accurate photo, you don’t want an excessively expressive face in the
There you have it, New Jersey — just another reason to frown.