Image Source Edinburgh News
What Happens To Physical Driving Licenses?
Before diving in, let’s clear up a few facts. The UK will still provide and accept physical full driving licenses. This will remain for the foreseeable future. However, the MOT and provisional paperwork will become digitised. As you may have already worked out, this is in an effort to push forward the environmentally motivated “Going Green” motto that most of the world is racing to achieve in their motoring infrastructure and manufacturing. The sectary of state said that the system will be “fairer, greener and more efficient”. Both provisional licenses and paper test certificates will now be digitally available instead. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is also working on development of an app to display all the virtual driving licenses a user may own.
Image Source Mundo Xiaomi
Why Digitise Driver Licenses now?
As mentioned previously, the main motivation is going green. We’re living in the age of the “internet of things” as everyday things become smart and digital. With smart washing machines and digital health certificates, digital drivers licenses doesn’t seem like a big stretch. There is one other factor here that often comes into play when talking about UK regulations though. Brexit. The UK claims they were unable to digitise driver licenses until this point due to regulations in the EU. Now that the UK is independent it can digitise its driver licenses as much as they please. It does leave the question of what about people who want to change their driver licenses to that of a different country. Whilst the physical copy is still available and will likely be swapped, there is not a lot of information about what happens to your digital licences. It’s assumed that the DVLA will update the status of these digital drivers licenses to inactive or expired to avoid the ability to use and exploit the UK drivers license at the same time as a different nationality licence.
Making driving licenses digital has its benefits and drawbacks, some of which are:
- Convenience: Digital driving licenses can be easily stored on a smartphone or other digital device, making them easy to carry and access. This can save drivers the hassle of carrying a physical license and reduce the risk of losing it.
- Security: Digital licenses can be more secure than physical ones, as they can be encrypted and protected with security features like biometric authentication. This can help prevent fraud and identity theft.
- Efficiency: Digital licenses can be updated and renewed more quickly and easily than physical ones, as they can be accessed and processed online. This can save time and reduce the administrative burden on government agencies.
- Accessibility: Not everyone has access to a smartphone or other digital device, which could make it difficult for some drivers to obtain and use a digital license.
- Dependence on technology: Digital licenses are dependent on technology, which could make them vulnerable to issues like power outages, software glitches, or cyberattacks. This could potentially leave drivers unable to access their license when they need it.
- Privacy concerns: Digital licenses require drivers to provide personal information, which could raise privacy concerns. Drivers may be concerned about how their personal data is stored, used, and protected by government agencies.
- Cost: The cost of developing and implementing a digital license system could be high, and this cost could be passed on to drivers in the form of higher license fees or other charges.
In summary, while digital driving licenses offer some clear benefits, they also raise some concerns and challenges. Governments and other organizations will need to carefully consider these factors when deciding whether to adopt a digital license system.