In September last year, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps confirmed government plans for a digital driving licence and MOT transformation. But what does this mean and how will it affect fleet operators? Allow us to explain.
In a bid to become ‘fairer, greener and more efficient’, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) plan to introduce an all new digital online driving licence for provisional drivers by 2024.
The licences will be featured on an app which can be downloaded onto drivers’ mobile phones, making them quick and easy to access. These licences can then be added to mobile e-wallets, such as Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
Chief Executive of the DVLA, Oliver Morley, tweeted a photo of the prototype in the Apple Wallet as shown below.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation said:
“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.”
It is understood that if the digital provisional licences prove to be successful, then full driving licences will follow suit.
The plans to digitise driving licences have been in the works for some time, however Department for Transport (DfT) ministers were unable to pass digital licences prior to Brexit due to EU law.
Under current plans, the new online licences won’t replace plastic licences, but will rather act as an additional copy that will help to make transactions simpler and faster.
This provides some reassurance to those who are concerned that paper and plastic documents will be phased out fully.
Mr Shapps said:
“We will not be an exclusively digital organisation and will ensure we continue to operate as a multi-channel organisation, so that those who cannot go online can still transact with us in other ways”
Licences aren't the only things changing thanks to “exciting new post-EU freedoms”. The DVLA is also aiming to launch an app that will eliminate the need for paper driving test certificates and MOTs in order to “bring MOTs into the modern age.”
Mr Shapps said:
“We will 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.
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.”
So far it seems that these changes will have very little impact on fleet operations, other than the way in which they approve new drivers should they provide a digital driver’s licence or test certificate upon application.
The possibility of digital MOT certificates will also benefit many fleet companies by helping them to create an efficient booking system that stores all of their vehicle certificates and provides reminders when a vehicle is due its next MOT.
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