Digital technology has come a long way since the ‘90s. At the touch of your fingertips you can check emails, send messages, make payments, and now, even have your driver and boat driving licence stored securely on your mobile phone.
But even with a digital licence on hand, many drivers are left asking questions like whether or not it replaces their plastic licence, or what happens if their phone battery dies and they’re left with no proof of ID. Here’s everything you need to know about the Digital Driver Licence and how to get your hands on one.
What is the Digital Driver Licence?
The Digital Driver Licence (DDL) is exactly that – a digital version on your driver licence available through the Service NSW mobile appon your mobile phone. New South Wales is the second Australian state, after South Australia, to digitise drivers’ licences. A digital licence allows you to view, show and renew that licence.
Are they compulsory?
No, they aren’t compulsory. It’s completely up to you whether or not you’d like to download and use your DDL.
Are drivers’ licences the only available digital licences?
Actually, no. Available NSW digital licences on the Service NSW app include:
- NSW Digital Driver Licence
- Boat Driving Licence
- Vessel Registration
- Recreational Fishing Fee
- Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card
- Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card
- Working With Children Check (WWCC) clearance
How is a Digital Driver Licence different to a plastic one?
All your information on the digital licence is exactly the same as your plastic one. The only difference is that the digital version includes a QR code so that law enforcement officials can scan and check your licence more swiftly than the traditional way of inspection.
How much does it cost and how do I get one?
It’s completely free. NSW drivers can get their hands on the digital version of the NSW Digital Driver Licence through the Service NSW mobile app.
Do I still need to carry my plastic driver licence if I have a digital one?
No. Legally, you can still drive your car or boat without your plastic driver licence provided that you’re able to view your DDL on your phone. This means no cracked mobile phone screens or dead batteries. If your phone is damaged or often unreliable it’s best to carry your plastic one with you at all times.
What happens if there’s no data coverage or my phone battery dies?
So your DDL can be accessed at all times, it’s your responsibility to make sure your phone battery doesn't die. When it comes to data coverage to be able to access your DDL, if you’re logged in the Service NSW app it will allow for offline viewing. Alternatively, once you download the app and get your DDL, you can take a screen shot of it and keep it stored in your favourite pictures so that you know where it is and it’s quicker to access if you ever need to provide it to an officer.
Can the DDL be used for proof-of-age?
Yes, of course. Just like you’d use your plastic driver licence, you can use your DDL as a form of ID when entering a pub or club or checking into a hotel. Keep in mind though, because the DDL is fairly new, not everyone will be ready to accept it and there may be some confusion. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to carry your plastic driver licence to avoid any inconvenience.