The Department of Transport Management now distributes smart driving licenses from its offices outside the Bagmati zone. This move came one and a half years after it started in the Kathmandu Valley.
The Department has begun issuing the cards from its Gandaki office in Pokhara and Dhaulagiri office in Baglung as well.
Tokraj Pandey, spokesperson for the department, said, “We are trying to replace nearly 2 million paper driving licenses with smart cards.” Among them, around 1.5 million are estimated to be active.
These smart driving licenses are similar to ATM cards. Each license contains a 512MB microchip that stores information including driver’s identity and vehicle registration number.
The data recorded on these licenses can be accessed by transport offices across the country, and links to it have been created with the traffic police, police and insurance agencies as well.
These licenses will also enable authorities to eliminate fake licences and keep electronic records of vehicles and their owners. When the card is scanned, all the owner’s biometric data including traffic violations will be displayed automatically, helping police control repeat violators.
Currently, a person who had his license revoked can get a new license from another zone. These new licenses will put an end to that as well.
Nepal began digitizing driving licences formally in December 2015 with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank. Although the department had announced distributing smart licences across the country in November 2016, Pandey said the plan was delayed due to technical problems. Till now, around 200,000 smart driving licenses have been distributed in the Bagmati zone.
Along with the licenses, the department is also procuring machines to read the digital license.