The state of Florida will be the first state in the United States to offer motorists the option of a digital driver's licence from 2021, joining a handful of Australian states that already offer the service.
From next year, residents of Florida will be able to apply for a licence that can be accessed across a wide range of devices, including smartphones and tablets, and will be recognised both nationally and internationally.
Those in possession of a "mobile driver's licence" will be able to use it to both verify their identity in person as well as to authenticate their identity online across a number of different portals.
According to Thales, the global IT company responsible for the technology, digital driver's licences are harder to counterfeit because they contain secure credentials that can be easily authenticated, as opposed to digital images or even physical licences, which Thales says can be more easily manipulated.
Digital driver's licences can also be updated in real time if there's a change in someone's personal details, and can be viewed offline in the event data or WiFi connection is unavailable.
While Florida might be the first state in the US to receive this technology, it's by no means the first region in the world to embrace the digitisation of driver's licences.
In fact, Australian states New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland all currently offer a digital form of identification to drivers.
NSW has given drivers the option of a digital licence at no additional cost through its Service NSW app since late 2019, with a reported one million motorists downloading a digital driver's licence in the first six months after its introduction.
However, the optional service does not replace the physical licence and the NSW government still "recommends you still carry your card as a backup while venues get used to seeing and accepting the digital driver licence as identification".
The Queensland government, meanwhile, began a controlled trial of Thales' digital licence system earlier this year, as well as amending existing laws in order to enable drivers to use the mobile licences as a legitimate form of identification, rather than a supplementary option.
Finally, South Australia was the first state in Australia to introduce digital licences and has offered the option through its mySA GOV app since July 2019.
Although Victoria does not yet offer the option of a digital driver's licence, Victoria Police says it will accept a digital licence as a form of identification from interstate or overseas drivers.
"Digital driver licences are already utilised in many states and countries across the world. Drivers are able to produce a digital licence to Victoria Police if that is the format issued by the respective country," a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
"It cannot simply be a photo of a licence on a phone, but must be presented to police through the official platform or app the licencing jurisdiction has established."
Similarly, ACT Police told CarAdvice it too would accept a digital licence provided it met the criteria for validity.
"ACT Policing would accept a digital drivers licence (DDL) as proof of identification from an overseas driver," an ACT Police spokesperson said.
"If there is any doubt regarding a driver licence status, ACT Policing members will make further enquiries to establish the validity of the licence as they would any other international licence.
"Drivers using a DDL are encouraged to carry their plastic license when travelling, as well as ensuring their phone/tablet screen is not cracked and that their device is sufficiently charged."