NSW to be the first state to trial digital drivers’ licences with government smartphone app
The New South Wales Government is pushing ahead with plans to become the first state with digital drivers’ licences, with a trial beginning in November.
The existing smartphone app handles licences for fishing, boating and gambling and will soon include drivers’ licences as part of a voluntary trial in the central west city of Dubbo.
Although the technology has already been mooted in other states, including South Australia, Finance Minister Victor Dominello said NSW would be the first to get it off the ground.
He said if the trial in Dubbo was successful, it would be rolled out across the state in 2019.
“We just recently passed legislation to enable it to take place in Dubbo in November this year, it’ll go for at least three months, and it’s exciting because it will provide a level of convenience that people in the 21st century would expect,” Mr Dominello said.
Mr Dominello said the Government had ensured the new technology would be secure.
“The experts tell us that a digital drivers’ licence is far more secure than a plastic card that can be easily lost and picked up,” he said.
“With a digital drivers’ licence, it’s online as it were and there are more protections around it.”
A number of residents in the Dubbo area have told the ABC they would resist the move, because it required a person to own a smartphone.
Digital licence trial backed by former mayor
But former Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson, who runs a technology business in the city, said the move to digital licensing made sense.
He said he believed the Dubbo community would embrace the trial.
“What I typically see, and it happens not just in Dubbo, not just in the state, but really across the world, you always have a bell curve of people that adopt technology,” Mr Dickerson said.
“It’s not that far away that all you’ll need to do when you walk out the door in the morning is pick up your phone and you know that everything you’ve got that’s important to you is on that phone.”
Mr Dickerson said while blackspots in mobile reception was a sore point for many locals, he was confident the technology would still work out of phone range.
“It’s designed, really, to be stored on your phone, so the information is authenticated initially, but you don’t need reception to be able to be actually able to use it,” he said.
“The main issue will be making sure your battery’s charged so if ever you get pulled up by a policeman and they say ‘show me your identification’ and you’ve got a flat battery in your phone that might be a new excuse that the police haven’t heard before.”