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Driver Licences Set to Go Digital by 2018

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, April 21, 2017

Licence checks are on the verge of getting a lot easier for both commercial drivers and their employers. Thanks to a plan already set in motion by the DVLA, qualified drivers already part of the agency's online system will be able to store a digital representation of their licences on a smartphone and readily share them with third-party recipients like employers and car hire companies.

The recent announcement of the electronic driver licence plan is part of a broader strategy to streamline how the government handles licencing, driver testing, and other similar tasks. The eventual goal is to make maximum use of all available technology in preparation for the mass deployment of driverless vehicles. The broader plan is based on a four-year outlook.

Creation of the digital driving licence is already well under way as evidenced by a mock-up released to the press. DVLA CEO Oliver Morley recently displayed that mock-up in a Twitter presentation that included a representation of a digital licence on his phone. He says the agency will begin testing the programme in earnest this autumn with the intention of having it ready for public release in the spring of 2018.

Plastic Licence Is Not Going Away

Morley is on record as saying the digital driver licence will not replace the current plastic card. Furthermore, not all drivers will be eligible to take advantage of the programme. But for those who can make use of it, being able to store a digital representation of a driving licence on a mobile device will make life a bit easier.

For example, commercial drivers will be able to produce up-to-datelicences when requested by employers. That will make real-time driver licence checks more accurate. The same applies for car hire. A customer will be able to present the digital driving licence which can then be immediately verified through a licence checking website at the car hire counter.

Obviously, security will be a big concern of app developers and the DVLA. Here's hoping they are as serious about security as they are about preparing the UK for driverless cars. A well-written mobile app linked to secure government servers could lead to a much more streamlined process that will ultimately change how we view driving licences. It would certainly improve how we conduct driver licence checks.

Sources:

Daily Mail – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4367586/Digital-driving-licences-phone-2018.html

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