Motorists in the ACT may soon be able to use driver licences on their phones instead of the plastic licence as New South Wales rolls out digital driver licences next month.
As of next month, Service NSW will offer an electronic version of the plastic driver licence, made available on a smartphone or other electronic device through the Service NSW app.
A spokesperson said the ACT Government is “enthusiastic about moving to digital driver licences” in the nation’s capital and hopes to roll out the digital licences in the 2020-2021 financial year.
“We recognise driver licences serve many purposes, including proof of identity and proof of age, and we want to ensure digital licences could be used and accepted in all the same contexts that printed cards are today,” the ACT Government spokesperson said.
“We would like to design this shift with the local community and industry groups.
“The ACT Government is committed to moving the delivery of more community services online and this project is being considered for commencement in the 2020-2021 financial year.”
According to NSW laws, when requested to produce a licence, holders are not required to hand over the electronic device that is displaying the licence, but if the police officer or authorised person directs them to refresh the licence by swiping down on the screen, they must comply.
If the screen of the device on which the licence is displayed is unable to be read due to cracking, dimming, dirt or any other fault, damage or obstruction, the licence is deemed not to have been displayed, incurring a fine.
If the holder of the digital driver licence fails to comply with a reasonable request to facilitate the reading, copying or scanning of the whole or any part of the licence or if the holder refuses to comply with a reasonable direction to refresh the display, the holder may also incur a fine.
NSW electronic driver licences will be used in addition to, and will not replace, the current plastic licences. The requirement to carry and produce a driver licence when asked has also not changed.
An ACT Policing spokesperson said any questions related to the potential introduction of digital driver licences in the ACT would be a matter for Government but said the NSW rollout will not adversely affect ACT Policing.
“The upcoming rollout of the Digital Driver Licence (DDL) in New South Wales will not adversely affect how ACT Policing deals with motorists from NSW,” the spokesperson said.
“Prior to the official rollout in August, ACT Policing Traffic Operations will disseminate an information bulletin to all ACT Policing members for their awareness regarding the DDL.
“If there is any doubt regarding a driver licence status, ACT Policing members will still have access to RTA databases to validate Australian driver licences.
“As per information available on the Services NSW website, NSW drivers are encouraged to carry their plastic licence when travelling interstate, as well as ensuring their phone screen is not cracked and that their phone is sufficiently charged.”