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CNBC

Smartphones could soon be British drivers' licences

But the government organisation overseeing the database of British drivers insists the current photocard is not being replaced

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 12:49pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 1:57pm

Imagine being pulled over by the cops while driving, being asked for your licence, and you pull out your … smartphone.

For British motorists, this could soon happen following a sneak preview a new prototype for a mobile licence from the head of the country's driving authority.

In a tweet last week, Oliver Morely, chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) tweeted a picture of an iPhone with a U.K. driving licence in Apple's Wallet app.

Morely followed up to explain that it was just a prototype and there was no timeline for its introduction. He added that it was not a replacement for the current photocard.

The DVLA is trying to make driving licence more digital. In the U.K. a driving licence consisted of the photo identification card as well as a paper counterpart. Last year, the authorities abolished the paper part of the licence and moved it online.

Britain is not the first country to experiment with smartphone licences. Last year, the U.S. state of Iowa trialed the use of mobile driving licenses.

And other pieces of identification are also looking to go digital. Earlier this year, DeLaRue said it's working on digital passports.