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You’re About To Lose Your Licence, But You'll Find It On Your Phone

Motorists across Australia could be saying goodbye to their driver's licence, with a new digital option about to launch.

Plastic driver licences are on their way out in NSW, with motorists able to switch to a digital version from August.

The digital licence is to be stored on a smart phone through the Service NSW app. It will be available on an opt-in basis, and won't be mandatory, but authorities expect a good takeup of the new technology.

While it may surprise some, the digital version is said to actually be more secure than a physical plastic license because of the anti-fraud features hardwired into the technology.

That includes features like a time stamp and shimmering effects that prevent the licence from being shared or duplicated as a screen shot.

How your digital license will look. Photo: Service NSW

It can also only be accessed by setting up an account with My Service NSW and logging into the app.

This means it can also double as a proof of age card -- such as at bars and clubs -- and is allowed for police roadside checks.

But definitely don’t go throwing out your physical licence yet, there are some pretty big conditions with the new ID. The main warning is that a physical licence should still be carried at all times.

This is because the tech is a bit like school assignments -- because a failure in the digital copy won’t get you out of trouble.

If a phone goes flat, or has screen damage that impacts the clarity of the digital licence, it will considered to be the same as having no ID at all if you can't then produce the physical version when asked

Extra care should also be taken when using the digital licence during police roadside checks, because there are some heavy penalties for touching a phone when driving.

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Only fully licenced drivers can use a phone while driving to make or answer calls, use the audio playing function or driver aid like navigation. That’s also only if it’s in a cradle that doesn’t obscure vision or can be operated without touching the phone.

So when being pulled over by police, it’s important not to touch the phone until the officer has requested a licence be shown.

Drivers risk heavy penalties if they touch their phone before being asked by police. Photo: Service NSW

For those living in Dubbo, Albury and parts of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, this won’t be anything new.

The digital licence has been trialled in these areas since 2017 and has been hailed a success.