Drivers renewing their license tor the first time in several years are encountering the Motor Vehicle Commission's "no smiling" policy for the first time.

MVC Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez (MVC)

Instead, smiles are discouraged for a more natural look for use with facial recognition software used by New Jersey and several other states. The softwareessentially breaks down the points on an individual’s face to a grid and it’s measurements. It measures the space between the eyes, the ears, etc, etc," explained MVC Chief Administrator Ray Martinez when the software was first introduced in 2013. "It’s a scientific proven technology, it’s been used on the federal level and in about 23 other states."

Smiles distort and exaggerate facial features making the software ineffective, Martinez said.

Mairin Bellack, the deputy director of communications for the MVC, told that the software is a key tool in cases of fraud and identity theft. "Would you rather protect your identity or have a cute smile on your license," Bellack asked.