The government is to introduce digital driving licences as part of post-Brexit measures to make transport ‘fairer, greener and more efficient’.
The move, which will initially only apply to provisional licences, was announced on Twitter by transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The Tory minister confirmed that the DVLA has committed to developing an app featuring the licences by 2024.
The decision has been made as part of a post Brexit review into how to improve the UK’s transport infrastructure.
The government says that prior to leaving the EU in 2020, it was prevented by law from introducing digital licences.
If the rollout is a success, it could also be applied to full driving licences at a later date.
The announcement comes at a time of unpreceded waits for physical driving licences, due to strikes at the DVLA’s Swansea HQ.
Last month, Umesh Samani, from the Independent Motor Dealers Association, slammed the industrial action in an exclusive chat with Car Dealer.
Shapps says his department is also introducing digital versions of booking systems and certificates in order to ‘bring MOTs into the modern age’.
The MOT industry is also still struggling post-Covid due to a backlog caused by exemptions given out during the pandemic.
Schapps said: ‘This is a golden chance to shake off the bureaucracy, invest in our future, and realise our potential with world-leading transport that benefits all of Britain.’
Our transport network will be fairer, greener & more efficient thanks to our exciting new post-EU freedoms.
We will introduce digital driving licences – moving provisional cards online, doing away with paper test certificates & bringing MOTs into the modern age🚗1/5
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 16, 2021
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, added: ‘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.
‘The risk is that the more personal data we store on our phones the more tempting a target they become for thieves and hackers.’
In its strategic plan for 2021-2024, the DVLA said: ‘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.’