Experts warn smartcard driving licence an unnecessary expense

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Experts warn smartcard driving licence an unnecessary expense

Pravin Jeyaraj
Implementing a proposed electronic driving licence would be a complete waste of money, leading road experts warned last week, writes Pravin Jeyaraj

The European Union has announced it is looking into a driving licence that also uses smartcard technology to double as an ignition key.

The card could also have the ability - when linked to the car's electronics - to control speed, limiting speeds for newly-qualified drivers.

But the Automobile Association says that, while the technology does exist, such a smartcard driving licence would be "very difficult to implement in practice".

The AA also believes that it would be better to focus on better driver training rather than having a two-tier system of new drivers and experienced drivers.

An AA spokesman suggests, "Alternatively, in a few years' time, there will be cars which can advise drivers on speed limits using a GPS satellite tracking system."

The AA has already carried out a survey into public attitudes to an electronic driving licence and found that there is a great deal of public resistance to cars which take away control from the driver.

An electronic driving licence has already been tested in Sweden. If introduced into Britain, it is expected to have a huge impact on car theft and road safety.

But the spokesman claims, "Essentially, road safety and car theft are not such big problems to warrant the expense of large sums of money on a driving licence when there are more important areas."

Motoring tax brings in £36bn for the Treasury, but only £6bn is spent on transport in general. The AA say the money should be spent on repairing roads and improving public transport.

The RAC Foundation also has doubts over whether an electronic licence would be effective in cutting excessive speeding, but says it welcomes the card's potential to cut car crime.


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