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Credit: Government of NSW

Credit: Government of NSW

Digital licences for NSW drivers available on mobile devices from as early as 2019

An announcement made by the NSW Government highlighted that the digital drivers’ licences may be available through the Service NSW app as early as 2019.

Given the successful trial of digital drivers’ licences in Dubbo, the NSW Government will be introducing its legislation into Parliament in May 2018 to enable a state-wide rollout of digital drivers’ licences.

The digital drivers’ licences trial occurred from October 2017 to February 2018 in the city of Dubbo, NSW. The primary goal of the test was to try the convenience and functionality of the digital drivers licence. It will also help pinpoint any other changes that need to be done before its rollout.

Dubbo was selected for the trial because it is a large regional city with a population of 42,000 and a good demographic spread. In addition, the Dubbo Police (Orana Local Area Command) is the headquarters for the NSW Police Western Region, making it ideal to facilitate and oversee the trial

During the trial, the test focused on 2 common uses for drivers’ licences. They are:

(1)    Selected interactions with Police, such as traffic stops and random drug and alcohol tests.

(2)    Providing evidence of identity and age at selected licenced venues in Dubbo.

Participation is purely voluntary. The participants were asked to fill out surveys and provide general feedback on their experiences.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said the Dubbo trial was a big success and drivers gave it the thumbs up.

“The legislation will enable expansion of the trial so that other NSW drivers can opt in to access a digital licence,” Mr Dominello said.

“Smartphones have become de facto wallets and we’re using cutting edge technology so that drivers can use a digital licence in everyday scenarios," he added.

If the legislation is passed, a driver could show his or her digital licence as proof of identity during a roadside Police check, as well as proof of age to gain entry into pubs and clubs. The initiative aims to save time and make life easier for the individual.

The digital drivers’ licence would be available through the Service NSW app, and will provide increased protection against identity fraud compared to the physical driver licence. The digital licence allows you to view, show, update, and renew that licence. There will be no more need to physically visit a service centre or wait for something in the post.

When the digital driver licence is made available, the individual will have the choice to “opt-in”. Drivers who opt in will still be provided with a physical card, but not required to carry it with them.

Just like with other digital licences, the digital drivers licence will be available in the Service NSW app. There are no plans to phase out plastic drivers licence cards. They will still be issued to the individual.

Digital drivers’ licences will offer a range of benefits. They are:

(1)    Fewer cards to carry – the individual can show identity, age and ‘permission to drive’ using a secure mobile device app (at no extra cost to the standard licence fees).

(2)    Convenience – ability to update details and renew licence from your mobile device.

(3)    Security – be able to control personal information.

(4)    Real time information – real time updates and licence specific information, including renewal reminder notifications.

Under the proposed legislation, the Road Transport Act 2013, the Photo Card Act 2005, the Gaming and Liquor Administration Act 2007 and the Liquor Act 2007 will be amended. 

The rollout of the technology will be subject to an implementation plan. 

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