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Ignore this Real ID story at your own risk if the clock is ticking towards the deadline

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If you don't know what the Real ID driver's license is, you have enough business.

If you still don't know anything at the end of this column, you may find yourself in a world of pain if you try to board a plane from October 1, 2020.

If you already have a driver's license that meets federal standards, you will receive a gold star. Literally. We will explain that soon.

If you don't know if you have a federal-compliant driver's license, you probably don't know either, because you would remember the pain if you went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get one.

If you don't know why this matters, this is a good time to find out, because the clock is ticking. And you don't want to get caught in the crowd of people pushing and pushing as time approaches.

This is why I am nervous about Real ID and you: nearly three-quarters of Americans do not have a Real ID or do not know if they know it, according to a study this month U.S. Travel Assn.

If you fly in your own country on 1 October 2020 and you expect your regular driver's license to lead you through airport security (and you are not with another form of conforming identification), you cannot board your flight.

To obtain the federally compatible license you must collect your documentation (drivers from California can find what is needed at RealIDdox), make an appointment and go to the DMV. You sign up, your documentation is checked out and you get a new license with a bear and a gold star in the upper right corner – this way you know you have a real ID.

The study by the travel agency estimates that nearly 80,000 of you can be stopped catching your flights on the first day this is implemented because you do not have a real ID (or have no other form of acceptable identification with you), resulting in $ 40.3 million lost expenses for travel companies. Play that for a week, and it is more than half a million people who together represent $ 282 million in lost expenses.

To take this home: if you are sent away at the airport and forget to cancel your flight, you can kiss your plane goodbye.

In the meantime you may be sputtering about why you did not know this yet. It is not entirely your fault. After all, it has been 14 years since this mandate was signed by law and there have been countless delays and false starts in its implementation.

There is "an assumption by people that this would be expanded or pushed back, so people didn't take it as seriously as they should," said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policies for the US Travel Assn. communicates this information to the public.

How do you do that? We spoke with communication experts who stated that this message requires:

A sense of urgency. Do you know how to postpone calculating your taxes until 15 April? That is how people look at getting Real ID. You don't go to jail if you don't have a real ID (as opposed to avoiding your taxes), but you don't go anywhere on a domestic flight unless you have it (or another acceptable form of ID, see above).

"The TSA and DHS seem to rely on frequently asked questions on their websites" to communicate this change, said Ethan Rasiel, CEO of Lightspeed PR, a New York-based public relations company helping customers introduce new technologies. "This will not be enough," he said in an email.

“To begin with, they must provide clear and concise signs to each DMV in the country explaining the different types of licenses, and they must ensure that agents are well informed and trained.

"Take, for example, the awareness campaign against flu shot – it's almost impossible not to know that you need your flu shot."

Use every tool in the communication toolbox. "It's time for a full-court press to announce it," said Nico Melendez, formerly a media representative for the Transportation Security Administration. It is important to use all media – including social media – to let people know, he said.

Go where travelers are. If you want to inform people about changes, go to travel sites, hotels, travel agencies and people who work with business travelers and ask for their help in communicating, said Kevin O & # 39; Malley, president and CEO of Travel and transportation, a large business travel agency.

Go where travelers are not. This is perhaps the most difficult group to corralize, Malley said, especially if they are few travelers. It may require effort from below through banks, institutions that people often visit, clubs, organizations, personnel departments at large companies and so on.

Strengthening by voting of authority. TSA officers at the airport tell people boarding flights that they must have a conforming ID, said Jenny Burke, a TSA representative.

Emphasize the punishmentsaid Joshua Dorsey, assistant professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton. Explain "the benefit for you why you want Real ID," he said. “People want to travel and go to places. I can link the Real ID to something positive so that I can continue to have a growth experience, I can continue to grow and see other places. "

Sadvertising. Dorsey was joking when he suggested sadvertising, a term I didn't know. "Do you know those ASPCA ads?" He asked, those with sad eyes who need your financial help to prevent terrible fortunes. I knew immediately and started to get tears in my eyes just thinking about them.

You can come across many of these messages in the coming months (except perhaps the sad eyes cats and dogs). And there is another one that you could consider: word of mouth. Ask your family members. Ask your friends. Because friends and family don't let their friends and family fly unexpectedly.

Do you have a travel climate, question or problem? Write to travel@latimes.com. We are sorry we cannot answer every question.

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