Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

JUST ASK! When good license stickers go bad

Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll find the answer.

Jason Cox, managing editor of the Keizertimes, writes of his recent experience traveling with an Oregon-issued driver’s license and a well-worn change of address sticker:

“I had wondered whether the change-of-address sticker on my driver’s license – which has worn to the point where you can’t see the address or read my name clearly – would be an issue passing through security at a pair of out-of-state airports.

“The answer was yes and no. If you look closely the expiration date and driver’s name are printed on the hard copy near the top. But Transportation Security Administration officials at one airport called my ID ‘tampered’ and officials at another airport were skeptical before noticing it ‘lights up’ like any other ID. And the doorman at a bar we visited in Washington, D.C. took a long look before finally accepting it.”

“The questions I had were twofold: How can one get a new sticker or ID, and why does the Oregon Department of Transportation do it that way in the first place?”

First of all, getting a new sticker is simple and free. Simply visit and click on “Driver and ID info.” Under the “Driver Licenses and Permits” tab is a form to replace a damaged sticker. We filled it out and a new one can be expected within five to seven business days of the request.

As for why the state does it that way: “To save time and money,” according to David House, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

State law requires driver’s license photos to be updated every eight years, House said – the same length of time a license is valid here. In addition, an address change must be reported to the state within 30 days of the move.

To get a replacement license drivers must report in person to a local DMV office, he said. Getting a sticker is as simple as filling out an online form.

The state’s been doing it that way for “probably decades – before my time,” House said.

If you need a new sticker, just fill out the form.

“For some people who use their ID more than others, it can wear out,” House said.

If you’re out of state or otherwise can’t get a replacement in time for your trip, Jason reminds that your name is also listed in small type directly under the driver’s license number, and the expiration date is to the right of the license number. This, along with the reflective background type, was enough to satisfy officials.

There are so many ways to ask us whatever you like. Write us at [email protected], “Tweet” us on Twitter or leave a message on our Facebook page, write us or call us.