The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has launched a public consultation on proposals for a trial of smart card provisional driving licences containing an electronic chip.
The trial is scheduled to begin early in 2008 and will last up to 12 months. It aims to improve security and to combat the increase in the number of experienced drivers fraudulently taking driving tests on behalf of learners.
The trial will be restricted to Wales, with just under 30,000 Welsh bi-lingual provisional driving licences being chipped. The cards will pass out of circulation as each learner driver passes a driving test and their provisional licence is replaced with a full licence.
The data contained on the read-only chip will be the data currently shown on the photocard licence, including an improved quality colour photograph as the new format driving licence incorporates a black and white version of the photograph.
As part of the trial card readers will be provided to the Driving Standards Agency, to allow them to access a larger, higher quality photograph of the learner driver presenting for a driving test, and also to Welsh police forces to help them with roadside checks. They will also be available in Welsh DVLA Local Offices for drivers to access the chip data if they wish to inspect the information held.
The consultation will seek to establish public opinions on potential wider uses of smart card driving licences, for example, the ability for a driver to access electronic services offered by DVLA on a chip and PIN basis, or use by a driver to authorise access to the driver record for car hire and insurance purposes.