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NJ drivers need to be straight-faced for license photo

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 21 2012 03:49:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 21 2012 09:34:59 PM CDT

No more smiling on NJ licenses

HUNTERDON CO., N.J. -

You know that saying, "Turn that frown upside down." Well, officials with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission say don't do it.

"I'm trying not to smile expression, not looking miserable," said Shirley Case about her drivers license picture.

Your picture doesn't have to resemble a mug shot, but the New Jersey M.V.C. wants drivers to park their smiles when getting their license.

"This is brand new. I had a Pennsylvania license, but they just took it from me," said Amanda Shepherd, 22. "I'm not smiling. They didn't let me smile."

"It looks like a mug shot," Brian Vanderveer said of his driver's license photo.

At Hunterdon County's driver's license center near Flemington, we delved deep inside drivers wallets to discover if their photo would pass the no smiling test.

"That's a frown," Chris Coyle said of his picture.

The state's motor vehicle commission said it's not about fostering frowns but about not disrupting the state's new facial recognition software program. A big smile, they said, could red flag your license and lead to more work for them.

So, smile and the whole world smiles at you, unless you're at a New Jersey M.V.C.