In a first nationally, Louisiana residents can now essentially carry their driver's license on their iPhone, officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

The change, which stems from a 2016 state law, means motorists will have access to a digital driver's license app through the Apple App store.

The charge is $5.99 and the app carries the image of a physical Louisiana license.

"Most people never leave home without their smartphone, and with this app they will never be without their driver's license," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.

The app, called LA Wallet, is free to download but includes a charge to activate for use as a driver's license or ID.

The digital license is good for the life of the issuance.

When the physical license expires, motorists will have to renew their license with the state Office of Motor Vehicles and buy a new digital license.

The legislation was sponsored by state Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.

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Karen St. Germain, commissioner of the OMV, said at the time that a digital license will provide added protection in case the license is lost.

She said it will be especially popular with drivers under 35.

"The safety of the app has been tested with all industry-standard security measures, and with pin number protection it is protected from anyone using a user's license information," St. Germain said Tuesday.

"Also, it does not track or ask to track the user's location at any time," said St. Germain, a former Louisiana lawmaker.

"If a user's phone is lost or stolen, the user can simply log in to the online portal to unlink their license information from their mobile device," she said.

The app also allows motorists to update their address or other information.

They can do so by un-linking, then re-linking their license after getting a notification of the change.

Edwards said State Police asked for a "hands off" and "no touch" procedure that allows them to avoid holding a driver's phone.

LA Wallet was designed by State Police, the state Department of Public Safety and the Office of Motor Vehicles.

It was developed by Envoc, a Louisiana-based software development firm whose development team is made up of graduates of Louisiana universities.

While similar apps are being developed, LA Wallet -- https://LAWallet.com -- is the only one with a full version available to the public, the governor's office said.

The state has about 2.9 million motorists.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.