Almost three years after it first declared plans to roll out digital driver’s licences, the NSW government has finally announced that it will introduce legislation into parliament to allow the state’s drivers to display their licences using a smartphone app.
According to NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello, despite the delay this is still an Australian-first, although South Australia technically introduced the optional use of digital licences in November last year.
“Smartphones have become de facto wallets and we’re using cutting edge technology so that drivers can use a digital licence in everyday scenarios,” Dominello said in a statement.
Tried and tested
The introduction of the legislation comes after a large-scale trial was conducted in Dubbo, with 1,400 drivers participating, between October 2017 and February 2018, resulting in 83% customer satisfaction.
Dominello added that the trial was “a big success and drivers gave it the thumbs up”.
The trial aimed to test how well both drivers and authorities who check licences responded to a purely digital version.
The first seeds of going digital were sown way back in 2015, when the then NSW government made an election promise to roll out the first batch of digital licences in 2016.
Digital driver’s licences will be offered through the Service NSW app starting in 2019, but a specific launch date has yet to be confirmed.
According to the NSW government, the digital licences will improve security and reduce fraud compared to their physical counterparts, and will allow users to provide proof of identity and age to gain entry into pubs and clubs, or when pulled over for roadside checks.
NSW residents who use a physical photo ID instead of a driver’s licence as proof of identity will also be able to opt for a digital version on the NSW Services app when the rollout happens next year.
While digital versions will be made available, the use of them is optional and physical cards will still be issued.
[Lead image from Highway Patrol Images]