Digital driving licence could arrive by 2018

12.00 | 4 April 2017 |

A digital version of the driving licence may be available for use as soon as next year, the DVLA has announced.

In its 2017/18 business plan, published on 30 March, the DVLA confirmed it will be developing a ‘quick, easy and secure service to allow customers to view a representation of their driving licence on their smartphone’.

DVLA intends to have a trial version of the new digital licence up and running by September 2017, but the new licence will not replace the full driving licence.

The RAC has broadly welcomed the move, while adding that some drivers will need to be reassured that it is ‘totally safe’ and will not lead to ‘increased fraud or abuse’.

The digital licence will only be available to drivers who have authenticated themselves on the DVLA website.

The DVLA says the driver ‘will be in control of their data’ and will be able to ‘share and validate driver information with trusted third parties through a secure website’. The new service will be available 24/7.

Plans for a new digital driving licence were first revealed in a tweet by Oliver Morley, chief executive of the DVLA, in May 2016.

Pete Williams, RAC spokesman, said: “The majority of motorists will welcome this advance as a positive step embracing technology and making it easier and more convenient.

“Drivers will just need to be reassured that it is totally safe and will not lead to increased 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.”

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