Driving licences to go smartphone-friendly

Driving licences to go smartphone-friendly
Digital driving licenses that can be displayed on a smartphone are set to become a reality in 2018.

While the “quick, easy and secure” service will not replace plastic licences, it will provide a convenient and legal alternative for those with a compatible device.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) says it will have a test system in place by September this year, with the aim of going live by next March.

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One of the reasons behind the DVLA’s plan – the biggest change to the system since paper licences were scrapped in 2015 – is to provide the ability for drivers to share and validate information with trusted third parties.

And security is an issue flagged by RAC spokesman Pete Williams, who says drivers will need assurances over online safety and the threat of fraud or abuse.

“It is also important to note that this electronic licence is not a replacement for the plastic licence and it will still be necessary to carry this with you as it will only be available where you have a web connection," he said.

“The majority of motorists will welcome this advance as a positive step embracing technology and making it easier and more convenient.”

The DVLA confirmed that work is currently in the early stages, with further details on exactly how the service will work set to be released further down the line.

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Back in May 2016, chief executive Oliver Morley first revealed on Twitter that a prototype for a digital licence was being developed.

In his post, an iPhone screen displayed the image of a licence within the Apple Pay app – already being used to make life easier for air travellers by storing boarding passes, and shoppers by holding payment card details.

The DVLA’s business plan states: “The driver will be in control of their data and this can be used to share and validate driver information with trusted third parties through a secure website.

“This service will not replace the full driving licence. The digital licence service will only be available to driving licence holders who have authenticated themselves on gov.uk through the existing driving licence service.

“This service will be available 24/7, wherever the driver has a web connection.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.