Originally created 03/01/97

Driver's licenses might get renumbered

ATLANTA - Thousands of Georgians may notice a change next time they renew their driver licenses. Their Social Security numbers won't be on them - an attempt to keep those digits from falling into the wrong hands.

The House voted 125-3 for legislation by Rep. George Grindley, R-Marietta, that would let the Department of Public Safety use Social Security numbers to identify drivers only if the driver specifically requests it. The bill now goes to the Senate.

"This is the computer age, the information age," Mr. Grindley reminded colleagues. "If someone has those (nine) digits, they have access to more information than you can imagine.

"That is the key that opens every door of access to your life."

Mr. Grindley's bill is the latest effort by lawmakers to slow the flow and use of personal information.

A bipartisan group of legislators is pushing for repeal of a state law approved last year allowing Public Safety to require fingerprinting when drivers renew their licenses.

The House has already decided to let consumers put their names on a state registry to refuse telemarketing calls.

Under current state law, drivers can ask the public safety department to put a random, computer-generated number on their driver's license instead of their Social Security number.

Rep. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, said many people use the Social Security number as their driver's license number because it's easy to remember.

However, with a Social Security number, Mr. Grindley noted, "You can do such things as order credits cards and have them delivered to your home, you can transfer money from someone's back accounts ... you can access someone's medical records."


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