The DVLA are Developing a New Digital Driver’s Licence That Could Save You Losing Your Documentation

If you’re forever forgetting the whereabouts of your driving Licence, help could soon be at hand. We’ve just learnt that the DVLA are developing a digital licence for use with smartphones.

Oliver Morley, the Licencing agency’s chief executive, has tweeted a photo of a prototype driving licence running on an iPhone, with a caption promising that this is “something we’re working on.” Initial reports made it unclear whether these would eventually act as a complete replacement for the current plastic licences, but Morley has since clarified that a smartphone app would only act as a backup.

And it really only makes sense. After all, we can already store airline boarding passes on our iPhones, top up loyalty cards, and even store our physical credit cards, so adding driving Licences to the retinue of digital documents seems like a good move. The US state of Iowa and the Australian state of New South Wales have already trialled digital driving licences. De La Rue, the largest commercial banknote printer and passport manufacturer on the planet, has even begun investigating the possibility of paperless passports.

Of course, several objections have already been made, mostly concerning security. It’s also uncertain what will happen if the owner’s mobile runs out of battery. Will policemen now be needing to carry travel chargers around to make sure they can check your Licence?

Objections aside, a smartphone Licence would come with a whole host of benefits. Most importantly, your new driving Licence could be delivered instantly, so filling out forms and waiting in line at the post office could become a thing of the past – there would surely be more than a few takers in this case. Though it might not be quite the benefit you’re looking for, we could also see points added instantly if you’re caught driving dangerously.

Younger drivers, who tend to use their Licence as a proof of age, are likely to be particularly keen for a digital counterpart.

Morley has said that there is no definite timeline for the launching of the new app. It was only last June that the paper counterpart was scrapped, so it should be some time before we actually get to carry our Licence around in our phones. That said, the abolishment of paper saved millions of pounds in reissuing costs, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this new idea found traction fast.