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Colorado DMV quietly testing out smiling with teeth in license photos

The state said the trial run will allow them to see if smiling complies with the federal REAL ID Act.

DENVER — Smile! Toothy smiles are now allowed in Colorado driver license photos on a trial basis.

The Colorado Department of Revenue confirmed details of a memo forwarded to Next with Kyle Clark by an employee from the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The memo states that as of Feb. 23, DMV employees can allow people to smile in their photographs with open lips and visible teeth.

The memo said staff can "allow, but not promote" smiling this way.

"'Unnatural' expressions, such as those intended for comedic effect
(e.g. with tongue out, overly exaggerated, etc.), are not permitted," the note said.

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Grins and smizes were allowed before, but smiles had to be subtle to ensure licenses satisfied REAL ID standards. REAL IDs are state IDs acceptable under federal standards. Photos without big smiles are thought to be easier for facial identification software to understand.

Colorado is now testing whether big smiles in photos will potentially impact REAL ID compliance.

The trial run does not have an official end date, as of now, and the state has made not made any permanent changes.

Earlier this week, Colorado debuted a new design for the driver license. Mount Sneffels is featured on the front-side of the new licenses, while an illustration of Sprague Lake can be found on the back of the new cards.

These licenses also feature specific security features. Each of the state's 65 counties is listed in the micro-text in the back of the card. There are several various designs on the card, as well, which are visible only in the correct lighting.

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