Every couple years we get bombarded with panicked travel advice about how the TSA is soon going to make certain states’ drivers licenses invalid for travel. The states choose to not comply with the REAL ID act and the TSA says that’s the only way to ensure that the person presenting the ID is actually traveling. Putting aside the part where who the passenger is matters far less than what they’re carrying, something the TSA is pretty bad about consistently and successfully checking, there’s also the part where the insistence on REAL ID is stupid. Mostly because of the column inches (and bytes) wasted on these stories year after year. And so we get to the December 2017 version of the idiotic game of legislative “chicken” where, once again, the TSA chooses to yield.
Nine states are still non-compliant with the REAL ID Act more than a decade after it took effect. For residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington the risk is that their state-issued ID will no longer be acceptable for entry to various federally regulated facilities, from court houses to airports.
The signage at airports and press push from the TSA not withstanding, the organization announced today it would postpone its implementation of that rule. Again. This time the new deadline is October 2020.
It will remain valid either way. And REAL ID is mostly bullshit. https://t.co/hGhdmE7EhE
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) May 7, 2016
Perhaps most amusing to me is not that the story keeps getting told but that people believe the TSA is serious when it comes to such enforcement. Yes, there are other options for many od the affected travelers. They can use a passport or even take the extra time to be processed as a passenger without valid ID, something that is completely possible. But 18 months ago I suggested to a colleague that there was no way the rule change would actually take effect in January 2018. Seems that prediction came true.
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Some of the affected states are moving towards REAL ID compliance. Massachusetts is supposed to be working in that direction and Missouri passed legislation that allows residents to choose if their ID card is REAL ID compliant (with the extra data collection/sharing) or not. And eventually they’ll probably all get there. Or maybe they won’t.
But the incessant threats that the TSA will block people from traveling are silly, overblown hype. Also, completely untrue. But don’t worry: I’m sure we’ll be back here again in early 2020 having the same discussion all over again.
Start prosecuting the idiots. Otherwise these stats are just stupid propaganda from the TSA to make us think the agents are competent. All legit testing evidence to the contrary. https://t.co/9m71RCOnZD
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) December 27, 2017
On the plus side, the TSA Blog continues to remind us that more travelers than ever are bringing guns to the checkpoints. Alas, those passengers are rarely cited or prosecuted for those “mistakes” so there’s really little motivation to not screw it up.
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