Driving licences are set to go digital as part of post-Brexit measures to make transport “fairer, greener and more efficient”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced the incoming change, writing on Twitter that online versions of provisional licences will be made available.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has committed to developing an app featuring the licences by 2024.
Provisional licences are required by law for anyone learning to drive.
If the rollout of the app is successful, it is understood that full driving licences could also be digitised.
However, traditional physical plastic cards would continue to be available.
According to a Department for Transport (DfT) source, the Government was prevented from developing digital licences before Brexit due to EU law.
But now, Mr Shapps said his department is “bringing MOTs into the modern age”.
This would also involve 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,” he said.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said the one thing drivers are most likely to have on them these days is their phone.
“So using it to carry their driver’s licence could be quite handy,” he said.
“The risk is that the more personal data we store on our phones the more tempting a target they become for thieves and hackers.”
In its strategic plan for 2021-2024, the DVLA said it would include 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,” the plan said.
“Our services will be secure, scalable and resilient and we will continue to explore and expand the use of emerging technologies.”