A group of select employees from the DVLA spent this past September testing the prototype of a smartphone app that will allow drivers to keep a digital representation of their driving licences on their phones. The government has said that their goal is to have the app ready for mass distribution by early 2018. Exactly how beneficial it will be to drivers remains to be seen.
Plans for the mobile app were first announced by the DVLA back in May. In his announcement, chief executive Oliver Morley intimated that the impetus behind the app was to make sure drivers were never without legal identification. Assuming that people will forget their plastic driving licences before their smartphones, allowing them to keep a digital copy of their licences on their phones would increase the chances that they would never be without proper ID.
A more recent report published by the Sun suggests there might be more to the smartphone app than just simple ID. The government is now saying that drivers will have access to their own driver data through the app, even when not connected to the Internet. Data would be stored on a driver's phone in the same way electronic payment apps store credit card information.
Benefits to Commercial Drivers
The Sun report also seems to suggest that drivers will be able to share their personal data with third parties through the smartphone app. If this is true, there may be some limited benefits to commercial drivers who may have to furnish data to their employers, in addition to those employers running electronic licence checks.
If the app turns out to be everything it is purported to be, it could streamline some aspects of carrying a driving licence and using it as legal ID. It will not change the need for employers to run electronic licence checks, but it will make it easier for professional drivers to supply their employers with personal data relating to their licence histories.
The only downside to the plan seems to be one of security. But security concerns are the norm these days. Hopefully the government will find a way to make the smartphone app highly useful and secure at the same time. Assuming they can pull it off, people will probably start registering for the service as soon as the app goes live in 2018.
Sun – https://www.thesun.co.uk/motors/4440965/dvla-driving-licence-app-being-tested-this-month-and-it-could-be-on-your-smartphone-by-next-year/