INDIANAPOLIS — An increasing number of Hoosiers pay for retail purchases using mobile phone applications linked to their credit cards.

Now state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, is proposing that the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles develop a "mobile credential," so Hoosiers likewise simply could reach for their phones if required to show police their driver's license or state identification card.

"Mobile driver's licenses are not only more convenient for Hoosiers, but as we move into a forever-growing digital age, we must utilize all the tools that are available to us," Melton said.

Senate Bill 182, which won unanimous committee approval Tuesday, directs the BMV to develop by 2021 a system for issuing and verifying secure mobile credentials that Hoosiers could store on their phones, in addition to receiving a physical license or ID card.

Louisiana and Iowa were the first states to implement mobile credentials. Melton's measure encourages the BMV to work with them to ensure Indiana's mobile driver's license and ID card are compatible with systems used in other states.

Under the plan, a motorist pulled over by police would show the officer the credential on their phone, particularly a specific bar code or seal, similar to a physical driver's license, that the officer would scan to verify the license or ID.

The legislation prohibits police from holding a person's phone, searching it or accessing any data beyond the mobile credential, which Melton said will be, in many ways, superior to a physical card.

"The ability to have access to your driver's license through your cell phone is beneficial to Hoosiers because information can be updated in real time, which provides an accurate and timely release of information that would take weeks to be updated if you had to wait for a plastic license to arrive in the mail," Melton said.

A 2013 Indiana law already permits motorists to show a mobile phone photograph of a vehicle insurance card, in lieu of the actual card, if required to demonstrate proof of financial responsibility to a police officer.

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