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MAY 2013

A Close Look at AAMVA's 80 Years of Service

When the driver’s license first came out, it was simply a paper document. An examination wasn’t required until 1959. Now, acquiring a license requires a driving examination, written examination and the document is nearly impossible to counterfeit.

“The driver’s license has warped into the de facto ID card used in America,” says Kevin Lewis, the director of driver programs at AAMVA. “It has gone from a piece of paper with somebody’s name typed on it to a sophisticated card.” Lewis points out that Americans need it for everything from being able to board a plane to opening a checking account.

As AAMVA celebrates its 80th anniversary, it has a plethora of driver services accomplishments to look back on in addition to helping create the modern driver’s license. It has passed various safety policies, implemented numerous programs and is continually working to improve driver services in America.

Karen Morton, director of driver licensing at AAMVA, says the association has played a crucial role in improving the country’s driver programs over the last eight decades. “The association has been a leader and someone that all the jurisdictions look to,” says Morton.

Read on to see a timeline of AAMVA’s most pivotal dates in the driver services division—from the creation of the license to the first examination program.

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1930's

  • 1933 AAMVA is founded.
  • 1938 First Minimum Driver’s License Examination Standards developed.