State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation that would allow a military service symbol to be included on state driver's licenses.
Rep. Readshaw said the indication of past military service would be a boon to veterans in both convenience and safety.
His legislation (H.B. 2153) would allow a veteran to have a "V" placed on his or her license after providing PennDOT with a copy of their official discharge papers, Form DD-214 issued by the United States Department of Defense. A nominal fee of $1 would be charged for the new license.
"Having the designation on the driver's license sure beats a veteran having to carry around their discharge papers all the time," said Rep. Readshaw, himself a former Marine Corps Sergeant. "A veteran can encounter situations on a daily basis where verification of their past military involvement is necessary to receive an important service or a discount on a purchase."
At least 10 other states have veteran designation on licenses enacted into law and the momentum is gathering in others, as reflected by Mr. Readshaw's measure in Pennsylvania.
In addition to being a convenience for veterans, Rep. Readshaw said the driver's license designation could prove to be a safety factor for former service members experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
"A police officer at an incident where a person is acting in an erratic manner, in verifying the person's identity would see if the individual is a veteran and may be subject to PTSD," said Rep. Readshaw. "With that insight, the officer, seeing the possibility of PTSD would be able to address any continuing problem in a manner that better protects the affected veteran and other people who may be involved.
"The veteran's designation is such a great idea with so many advantages, I'm surprised it's not already universally in law across the nation."
The bill has been referred to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.