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Taoiseach announces new hi-tech driving licences
A new credit card style driver's licence is being launched in Ireland next year. Did we mention that it will be less papery than the current licence and far more hi-tech?

Do you have any penalty points? If so, you won’t be able to hide them for much longer. A new credit card style driver’s licence is apparently being introduced to Ireland next year. Did we mention that it’s high-tech? Fancy.

The Irish Sun reports that the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, announced the arrival of these new licences at an awards ceremony yesterday. Enda chose his moment wisely, as the awards ceremony just so happened to be taking place at the offices of the Road Safety Authority. How convenient, don’t you think?

So what’s the deal with the new licences? Well the cards will hold the driver’s photo, full name, address, date of birth, licence type and the details of the issuing authority – much like the current document. Only this card will also be fitted with a tiny microchip that will carry a record of any penalty points or other traffic offences. Think of it as Irish driving licence version 2.0. Less papery and much more revealing when it comes to personal information.

The downside of this is that Gardai will immediately know what you’ve been getting up to on the roads – bad news if you’re guilty of speeding or not paying attention to the rules of the road.

Gardai will be able to scan the new cards at checkpoint stops and will know your entire motoring history at the push of a button. Currently if a garda stops you, they can’t tell if you’re carrying any penalty points or even if you’re actually disqualified from driving. It is hoped that the new cards will encourage motorists to be more careful and to not get into a car if they have in fact been banned from the roads.

The cards are a part of a European drive which aims to crack down on cross-border evasion by rogue drivers.

The smart cards will also include special security features which will let gardaí know if you need to wear glasses while driving or use hearing aids. Gardai will also be able to tell if you are restricted to certain engine sizes in your car.

We think they’re a good idea. Given the fact that so much of your motoring history is available on the new licences, they’ll hopefully encourage drivers to be more careful and to slow down.

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