News: "Officer Dragged to His Death...Traffic Stop: Pinned beneath vehicle operated by unlicensed 15-year-old." The Province, June 29, 2011
Traditionally a license is issued for operation of a particular vehicle. Disadvantages include that there is no way to know who is driving a particular vehicle. Therefore, if an owner lends her vehicle to a friend, external observers cannot know anything about the particulars of the driver of the vehicle. Secondly, if a vehicle is stolen, there is no way for observers to know the facts about a particular driver simply by observing the vehicle.
With the advent of modern microprocessors, digital electronics and LED display technologies, it is now possible to develop a radically new approach to driving licensing. The idea is to permanently associate a specific license with a particular person, and not with a particular vehicle. The proposed system will work as follows:
Upon passing the requisite driving courses and certifications, a new driver will be issued a license card that, in addition to having a picture and other identification typical of a traditional driving license, will also be equipped with a microprocessor "chip" that will contain additional encoded data, including a secret "PIN". To drive a particular vehicle, the driver simply inserts the "smart" driving license card into the reader located on the dashboard and then enters the four- or five-digit PIN into the reader when requested. The motor can then be started. The vehicle then displays the driver's personal license number on the front and back LED displays along with any other appropriate driver-specific codes. These codes could include displaying an "N" for a new driver, a "D" for an individual who is limited to driving only during daylight hours and so on. More advanced versions of this system could also automatically set up all the digital displays in the vehicle according to the individual's particular preferences.
There are numerous advantages with this new system of driving licensing:
•Underage and unlicensed operators are barred from driving any vehicle that uses this system
•Many drivers can use the same car, each driving with a different license number, different digital dashboard configurations, and different personal insurance coverage particulars.
•Theft of vehicles becomes much more difficult since the motor will not start until a valid license card is inserted into the reader AND the correct PIN has been entered.
•Theft of a particular license card will not render a vehicle drivable, since the unauthorized driver will not be able to enter the unique PIN associated with that particular card.
•Safety is enhanced, since children and other unauthorized individuals will not be able to gain access to any vehicle equipped with this system.
•Access to drunk and similarly impaired drivers will be made more difficult, since these drivers would have difficulty entering the required PIN.
•All of the restrictions associated with a particular licence will be clearly displayed on the vehicle's license display, providing timely information to authorities without having to stop the vehicle and interrogate the driver.