December 13, 2006 Edition

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New vertical license
for drivers under 21


Tisha Nunally of Black Rock was the first person in Lawrence County to receive the new vertical driver's license. Nunally was issued this new license on Monday. The new format will have the same information as the presently used horizontal license, but will be for Arkansans under 21.

Governor Mike Huckabee has announced the release of the new vertical driver's license for Arkansans under 21.

The vertical format, which will have all the same demographics as the presently used horizontal license, is expected to be instrumental in helping to stop minors from purchasing cigarettes or alcohol illegally.

"The vertical license will provide merchants and law enforcement with an instant visual cue in order to verify a license holder's age," Gov. Huckabee said. "This will go a long way to keeping alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of anyone under the legal age."

The new vertical license will only be issued to new licensees and for duplicates under 21 years of age.

Those licensees who are currently under 21 will not be required to obtain a new vertical formatted license. The license holder can continue to use the horizontal license that they have in their possession.

There will be no change in the graduated license program that is currently being used.

"This will help identify those under the age of 21 who are trying to purchase alcohol or tobacco," said Susan Sims, administrator for the Office of Driver Services. "Often times clerks don't have time to do the math and consequently young people end up purchasing these products illegally."

"This makes a big statement about the dangers of underage drinking," said Teresa Belew, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "We need to do everything we can to prevent access to alcohol and tobacco to those who are under21."

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