Naming contest for new driver's license ringtail

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By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

PHOENIX -- Arizona is getting a new driver's license design featuring a ringtail, the official state mammal. The Arizona Department of Transportation is asking for suggestions on a nickname for the animal.

Ringtails have been the official Arizona state mammal since 1986. They're shy and almost entirely nocturnal, so they're not the easiest piece of wildlife to see.

While the ringtail will be adding security to the new license design, it won't be using its fearsome 2-pound frame to defend drivers' identities. The currently unnamed ringtail is part of a complicated background design of Arizona's geography. The background is made using Guilloche innovative symmetry, a design technique involving intricate patterns that are difficult to counterfeit.

In addition to the new, ringtail-featuring design, the new driver's license features a number of other security measures. Textured sections and a larger picture are among the additions. According to Tim Tait, a spokesperson with ADOT, the old driver's license simply isn't secure.

"The new driver's license really comes down to a matter of security," Tait said. "The current Arizona driver's license with the photo background is easy to duplicate."

Although identity security is a serious topic, Tait said the ringtail-naming contest is a way for people to have fun with the new design.

"The ringtail needs a name," Tait said. "We can't just call him 'the ringtail,' he needs a name. He deserves an identity."

While there will be no formal prize for whoever submits the winning name, Tait said there's still plenty of reasons to submit.

"The grand prize is bragging rights for this contest," Tait said. "If you win the contest, you get bragging rights that you got to come up with the name for the ringtail."

People can submit and vote on potential names for the ringtail at the ADOT website. The new licenses will start to be issued on June 16.