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Digital driving licences to be introduced in bid to make transport ‘fairer, greener and more efficient’

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Digital driving licences will be introduced as part of post-Brexit changes to make transport “fairer, greener and more efficient”, it has been announced.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said online versions of provisional licences will be made available.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is aiming to develop an app featuring the licences, required by those learning to drive, by 2024.

Physical plastic cards would still be available.

It is understood that if the digital rollout proves to be a success then full driving licences could follow suit.

A Department for Transport (DfT) source said ministers were unable to develop digital licences before Brexit because of EU law.

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Mr Shapps said his department is also “bringing MOTs into the modern age” by introducing digital versions of booking systems and certificates.

“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,” the transport secretary added.

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.

“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’s strategic plan for 2021-24 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.”