Color might be for tourists, but it’s also the most popular choice for driver’s licenses around the country. Soon, however, New York state issued driver’s licenses will include a black & white photo of the driver instead of the usual color version.

This is not an aesthetic, or evidence that state officials are color blind. Instead it is part of an effort by the state to make their driver license and photo identification cards more secure. They are so committed to this, in fact, that they were willing to choose the highest bidder, opting to pay an extra $30 million for the more secure cards.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has decided the right company to produce their new identification cards is CBN Secure Technologies of Ottawa, Canada. Some of the other bidders have already complained that there were problems with the bidding process because the DMV did not explain they want the more secure ID cards with B&W pictures, but it seems unlikely the process will be re-started.

The change in the identification cards was prompted by the nationwide “Real ID” program launched by the Department of Homeland Security. They say the previous state identification system was not sound enough and did not go far enough in protecting identity or in creating cards which could not be duplicated or altered. The new system requires more intricate designs and specially embossed cards which are meant to thwart nearly all attempts at forgery.

For New York drivers their new licenses will not only be more secure, but they won’t need to worry if their make-up is on right or their hair is starting to turn gray because the photos will be black and white.

Across teh country changes are taking place to meet the new “Real ID” requirements set down by the DHS. New York is the first state so far to switch the photos from color to black and white, but they may not be the last.