The driver's license photo, it seems, is destined to look like a mug shot.
DMV officials say the smile ban is for a good cause. The agency would like to develop a facial recognition system that could compare customers' photographs over time to prevent fraud and identity theft. "The technology works best when the images are similar," said DMV spokeswoman Pam Goheen. "To prepare for the possibility of future security enhancements, we're asking customers to maintain a neutral expression."
At a Manassas DMV branch yesterday, that translated to a simple directive: "Don't smile."
My current Virginia license does not expire until 2017. Maybe by then the facial recognition software will have improved enough to allow a little happiness. Maybe the DMV employees will be able to smile as well.