Good news, the state isn’t banning smiling.
The DOT is using new facial recognition software on driver’s licenses. But unlike other states, Iowa won’t require a long face. From Radio Iowa:
(DOT spokesperson Dena) Gray-Fisher says the software Iowa is putting into practice will not require people to put on a blank, stony face. “Any Iowan can certainly have a modest, reasonable smile and that’s not going to affect the software,” Gray-Fisher says. “We’re not going to have any crazy faces or something that might really distort your face, but anybody can have a reasonable smile.”
Several states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia, require people to have a “neutral” face for their photos, something like the people featured in Iowa native Grant Wood’s classic painting “American Gothic.”
I, personally, have never felt like smiling, even modestly, during a visit to the license station. But my license is up for renewal this summer, so I’d better find a mirror and start practicing my reasonable smile.
So what’s an unreasonable smile look like? For that, we’ll turn to my 3-year old daughter, who is often smiling and unreasonable:
Look out folks. She’ll be on the road in just 13 short years. Yikes.