The plastic driver licence may soon be a thing of the past, with the NSW government currently trialling digital driver licences.
The trial is currently taking place in Dubbo, NSW, and will soon be rolled out to several Sydney suburbs. But the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has emphasised the need for education to minimise teething problems.
Last month, legislation for the state-wide rollout of digital driver licences was passed and the changes will start in NSW in 2019. Eligible people are expected to be able to use them instead of their current physical licence from April next year.
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut says convenience stores – retailers of age-restricted products such as tobacco and lottery products – will be at the coal face when digital driver licences are introduced and used by consumers.
“It will be critical in the lead-up to the widespread introduction of digital driver licences for all stakeholders – consumers, retailers, motorists and others – to understand clearly how their digital licence will work,” he said.
“As an industry, we need clear operational guidelines, so retailers can easily identify a genuine digital driver licence and what constitutes a falsified one.”
“Any restrictions on the use of digital driver licences must also be made abundantly clear to avoid customer frustration and confusion for retailers.”
Teething problems will invariably arise, Mr Rogut says, so education and consultation with industry must be a priority. The AACS is working closely with the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation to minimise any negative consequences for retailers and their customers.
“Without a properly coordinated, multi-lingual, appropriately funded education campaign surrounding the introduction of digital driver licences, with the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders clearly defined well ahead of the ‘go live’ date, it will fail,” Mr Rogut said. “It was happened before.”