There are many benefits to having a digital copy of your driver’s license. For example, carrying a single phone in your pocket is much more convenient than carrying both a wallet and phone. And in the era of mass digitisation when almost all the cards in your wallet can be replaced with an app, it makes sense that the driver’s license is next.
As of Monday 28 October 2019, the digital driver’s license was finally made available to NSW driver’s license holders after a trial involving over 20,000 drivers in Dubbo, Albury and the Eastern Suburbs.
To get the digital driver’s license on your phone, you’ll need to download the Service NSW app and type in your NSW driver’s license details after registering your email. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to display your digital license on your smartphone.
If you’re wondering how someone can tell a real digital driver’s license from a fake one, Service NSW has that covered – a few safety measures have been put in place to ensure that digital driver’s licenses are verifiable.
These include a Waratah emblem that shifts its position when the phone is tilted (reminiscent of the hologram present on physical driver’s licenses), and a time sensitive QR code that can be scanned to verify the driver’s name is on the Service NSW database. You can also pull down the driver’s license page to refresh it and prove it’s not an image.
However, many people were concerned with the invasive nature of the Service NSW app after it was discovered that the app requires an extensive list of permissions including access to your camera, calendar, files and location.
In response, Service NSW issued a statement to explain that many of the special permissions were from previous versions of the app and were directly related to features existing at the time.
Although the NSW digital driver’s license is legal for use as ID for entry into pubs and clubs, it’s not guaranteed that all venues will accept digital forms of the license so your best bet is to carry your physical driver’s license on you until you know which venues take digital versions.
Your digital driver’s license also won’t be accepted if your screen is cracked or your phone’s battery is dead, and the Service NSW website also recommends carrying your physical driver’s license on you if you’re travelling interstate or overseas.
It’s also important to note that it is illegal to access your digital driver’s license when driving (and even while stationary) unless you’re asked to do so by a police officer.
Although the advantages of having a digital copy of your driver’s license are numerous, there are still quite a few limitations around its use. For now, it’s probably a good idea to continue carrying your physical driver’s license until all the wrinkles have been ironed out of the system.
Image © State of New South Wales (Service NSW) 2016