While most people dread taking a driver’s license photo, a new New Jersey restriction can make it worse.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is placing minor restrictions on smiles in order to ensure their new facial recognition software works properly.

When New Jersey resident Velvet McNeil was told she was not allowed to smile in her new license photo, she left the building in shock.

“Your picture means a lot,” McNeil said. “It’s who you are.”

Motor Vehicle Commission Spokesperson Elyse Coffey said that smiling has not been officially banned, but they will request that residents do not smile in the photo.

“The digital photos allow us to conduct a facial recognition scrub, which allows us to check the photos of our 19 million faces to make sure each driver has only one driving record and you are who you say you are,” Coffey said. “We’re asking customers not to make exaggerated facial expressions.”

Residents are already asked to remove their glasses and outwear unless their religious beliefs prevent them from doing so in order for the database to work at full capacity.  

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