The Australian State of New South Wales' (NSW’s) new Customer Services Commissioner, Michael Pratt, says one of the streamlined service delivery strategies he is considering could see all NSW licences replaced by a single smart card that records multiple licences the bearer holds. Pratt said he can also foresee licences finding …
....what happens when you travel overseas or even out of state and the clerk at the rental car agency asks for your drivers license? Or the traffic cop pulls you over and asks to see you license? All the officials will see is a fancy card which could just mean the bearer is entitled to fish for trout...
Re: Interesting, but.......
I suppose one could have portable electronic readers which would allow clerks or roadside police to scan the card and find out what's on the licence in the same way that e.g. a police officer might want to check that an apparently valid licence hasn't been suspended. However, that's not much good if you're somewhere where there is no connectivity and it does require quite a lot of people to buy readers, and requires a lot more people to have some sort of direct access to the RMS driver registration database. Hmmm.
Also - IIRC, some security staff are required to wear their licences while working, and they are designed so that they do not have their address and name visible (correct me if I'm wrong), just an ID number.
The guy's basic idea isn't awful, and perhaps there is scope to have the less important licences e.g. fishing and rec boating added as a box or line on the back of the driver licence or state ID card that most licenceholders will have anyway.
Everything in one place, controlled by one agency, representing the interests of a multitude of other agencies, each constantly responding to political, technical and market interests, requiring oversight and update via tight coordination amongst bureaucrats and stakeholders - and it's going to be done seamlessly by the Government!
WTF could go wrong with that?
This sounds remarkably like...
...The Australia Card, a 1985 Bob Hawke / Federal Labor[*] initiative.
More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_Card
Personally, I'll keep my individual bits of ID separate, thank you. At least this way I can be happy in the thought that I only give "The Authorities" the bits of info relevant to their request, be it Plod on the side of the road or the fishing Nazi at the boat ramp.
At least it's only the denizens of NSW that are at risk at the moment.
[*] For the benefit of the unedumacated who complained the other day, this is how this political party spells it - all other forms in Oz are spelt the correct way (with a 'u').
Bigger issues first
I'd rather see efforts made to change the insurance system than the licencing - How about a system similar to the UK where an insurance disc is used? one insurance policy for one road user, wich gets transferred to whichever car you're using, eliminating the need for a policy for every car. Makes sense, since I'm not driving more than one car at once....
Having a single licence to pull out of my wallet / lose at some point doesn't help me. It also doesn't help that each different type of licence expires at a different time - but obviously those expirations won't be listed on the card, and I doubt "making it easier to know when your licence has expired" has even been scrawled on the back of the page of considerations to be taken into account for this system...
Re: Bigger issues first
The system in the UK is not as you seem to believe.
The 'disc', which every vehicle must display, is the 'tax disc' which indicates that the owner of the vehicle has paid the Vehicle Excise Duty to the government. That disc is valid for 6 or 12 months and is regarded as 'belonging to' the vehicle. It stays with the vehicle and remains valid if the vehicle is sold. (An owner can surrender the tax disc to the authorities in exchange for a pro rata refund.) Without this tax disc, a vehicle cannot be used on the public road.
Insurance to drive a vehicle is a separate matter, bought from commercial companies, and is personal to the driver. Most personal insurance specifies the registration number of the vehicle that can be driven (the registration number is unique to the vehicle and stays with the vehicle and is displayed on the vehicle). A driver must have insurance to drive on the public road and is issued with a certificate which may need to be presented to a police officer if asked for. A driver must also have passed a driving test and hold a driving license (valid until the age of 70) for the class of vehicle being driven.
In fact, the entire set of records - tax disc, insurance, driving license, MoT certificate (vehicle roadworthiness test) and vehicle registration number and ownership records - are held in a central database that can be accessed by any police officer and various other government agencies.
If the police pull you over for any reason, all you need to do is convince them of your identity, then they put a call over the radio to check everything you're entitled to and can also check if the vehicle has the appropriate permissions to be on the road.
Re: Bigger issues first
Interestingly, in Australia, vehicles do already display an 'insurance disk' (All right, State and Territory registration stickers are oblong rather than round, so not a disk per se). CTP insurance is billed as part of the rego, and displaying a valid rego sticker in Aus DOES indicate that the vehicle is covered by compulsory third-party insurance.
CTP only covers third-party personal injury, and not property damage, but it applies to the vehicle not the driver - although it is invalidated if the driver is unlicenced.
Just what is a license?
Is a "License" the correct word since the document is a certificate of a license and the license is held in a computer database somewhere. The general use for the document by those authorized to verify it tends to be only as a token to help speed up the checking process.
Re: Just what is a license?
Surely the license is the provision of the right to do something, not a physical or computer-based thing.
The computer-bits and paper bits are just to keep track of the licenses given, so someone doesn't have to remember them all.
Get rid of state governments!
Issues like this should be federal not state. The sooner we get rid of the WOFTAM that is state government the better. We only need two tiers of government: federal and local. The current three-tier system is so wasteful.