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Shaun Sadlier's blog: Next-gen licence checking

Date: 08 June 2017

The increasing digitisation of fleets is delivering all kinds of benefits - and one of the most potentially useful emerged last week in the shape of a promised digital driving licence.

The DVLA tweeted a picture of a digital licence on an iPhone and said that it would be working on a fast turnaround for its delivery, with beta testing by this September and the finished product available by 2018. Its description promises that it will be "quick, easy and secure."

This is interesting news from a risk management point of view. Especially, from the DVLA's outline, it appears that the digital licence will be "live" - that is, it will take the most up-to-date information from its database which will allow employers to carry out on-the-spot licence checking.

There is also a mention that the digital licence could be shared with "trusted" third parties which could clearly mean fleets. This opens up a number of routes through which risk management practices could be improved - for example, daily rental companies could inspect licences at the point of hire and know that the information they are seeing is 100% accurate.

Whether this technology replaces the current DVLA online licence checking used by many fleets through specialist suppliers or will work alongside it, serving as an additional stream to accompany current data sources, is as yet unclear.

However, what it appears that the digital licence will do is - at the very least - provide fleet managers with a new and useful risk management tool. We are looking forward to seeing exactly what the DVLA delivers and working out how best to use it to usefully enhance fleet driver safety.