Currently reading: DVLA to scrap physical driving licences for online approach
Changes will move provisional licences online with a DVLA app arriving by 2024
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2 mins read
17 September 2021

The government will introduce digital driving licences as part of a bid to make the UK transport network “fairer, greener and more efficient,” secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps has said. 

The changes will include moving provisional cards online and removing paper test certificates. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will also develop an app to display virtual licences by 2024. 

Reports suggest full licences will also eventually make the transition to digital form, but plastic licences will still be available alongside the app for the foreseeable future. 

It is claimed that licences were previously unable to go digital due to EU-related regulations. 

MOTs for heavy vehicles (annual tests) will also be updated to suit modern standards, Shapps said, moving to digital booking platforms and discarding paper certificates. Cars, vans and bikes will remain unaffected by MOT changes. 

The UK government began digitising driving-related documents in June 2015, scrapping the paper counterpart of driving licences, which previously included penalties and the type of vehicle you were allowed to drive.

"These days, the one thing drivers are most likely to have with them is their phone, so using it to carry their driver's licence could be quite handy," said Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation. "The risk is that the more personal data we store on our phones, the more tempting a target they become for thieves and hackers."

The 'DVLA Strategic Plan 2021 to 2024', a document that summarises the targets and expectations of the organisation, highlights the changes.

"We will continue to accelerate the expansion and sophistication of our digital services, including working to secure the legislative changes that will be needed to move to providing digital driving licences," it says. 

The report also states: "We will introduce a digital driving licence for provisional drivers and also start to build a customer account facility. This will ultimately give our customers personalised, easy and secure access to a range of services and allow them more choice in how they transact with us.

"Our services will be secure, scalable and resilient and we will continue to explore and expand the use of emerging technologies."  

The changes come shortly after eight US states announced that they will accept digital licences and other IDs on an iPhone through the integrated Wallet app. The European Commission also revealed plans back in June this year to introduce a similar, non-compulsory app which will allow people to verify their age and driver's license. 

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Jeremy 11 October 2021

Bad move. The driving licence has become a default ID card. Something on a phone won't work as well (flat battery, faulty app software, etc.) and if you lose your phone your identity will be a hacker's delight. 

Deputy 20 September 2021

This is awful.  My grandad survived World War 2 without a smartphone and he always had a paper copy of everything in his house (he had to move house 3 times due to the amount of paper he stored).  What about Great Aunt Maude?  She still writes cheques that no one accepts but won't change.  She hasn't got any plans to get a smartphone so let's make all 33 million driver is UK have a plastic card as she doesn't want to learn something new....

2211221 20 September 2021
Considering that my dad is a lorry driver, I fail to understand how this will work. He needs 5 separate cards to drive an artic.
Driving licence
Drivers card
Tachograph card
And 2 CPC cards.
He also, which is safe to say about the older generation, has no understanding or need for a smart phone. He can't even text let alone bring up an app, put in his password and show his 5 different cards on it.
This is just a stupid idea if you ask me, if the government get hacked you will lose every little detail of your life. It's just another way of keeping people in line and knowing where and what you're doing all of the time.