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DRIVING

What you need to know about Norway’s new digital driving licence

Drivers in Norway no longer need to carry a physical driving licence – they can simply download the app.

What you need to know about Norway’s new digital driving licence
Photo: Screengrab/App Store

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen, NPRA) has launched the Førerkort (Driving Licence) app, which, from October 1st, enables the 2.2 million motorists who have a Norwegian licence to download and display their identification digitally.

That means any driver asked by traffic police to provide their licence can do so via a smartphone screen.

“We have found that you can occasionally be unfortunate enough to get a 500 kroner fine because you left your driving licence at home, and there’s no real need for that in the modern age in which we live,” NPRA’s head of driving licences department Synnøve Vebostad told NRK.

The digital version will be just as valid as the physical form of the licence for documenting the right to drive a vehicle, Vebostad confirmed.

But it may not be approved as a form of ID in non-traffic-related situations, the NPRA website notes.

Additionally, it will only be valid in Norway, so drivers taking their cars to Sweden, Denmark or further afield will have to remember their physical licences. That is because no EU or EEA-wide standard for digital licences has yet been adopted.

Car rental (including in Norway) will also still require the physical licence for the time being.

For those who still prefer analogue options, there is no obligation to download the app.

“It’s up to you whether you activate the digital licence,” Vebostad said to NRK.

Norway is one of the first countries in Europe to introduce an online driving licence, according to NPRA.

“Norway began developing this after a number of other countries, but is probably the first in Europe to have an option that everyone can download. Work to develop this began 10 months ago,” the authority’s head of Traffic and Vehicles Bodil Dreyer Rønning said in a press statement.

The digital driving licence app can be downloaded free via Google Play and Apple Store, or by following the link on NPRA’s website. You’ll need versions 9.0 (iOS) or 6.0 (Android) or newer for the app to work.

To download it, you must already have the card-style driving licence (as opposed to an older paper version). It must be a valid Norwegian licence and you must have a Norwegian address. You will also have to give permission for NPRA to store your photograph digitally.

A ‘My page’ (‘Din side’) section of the app will display the vehicle classes you are licensed to drive. This will exactly reflect the information on your regular licence.

READ ALSO: Norwegian driver loses licence for not scraping ice from window

TRANSPORT

Why the cost of toll roads in Norway’s major cities could increase

The cost of using roads in Norway's biggest cities could increase due to the governemnt changing the rules for the funding it gives local authorities to spend on transport and tolls.

Why the cost of toll roads in Norway’s major cities could increase

Norway’s government has changed an agreement on local transport funding introduced under the previous administration, public broadcaster NRK reports.   

As a result, money earmarked for reducing tolls or freezing prices in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim can now be spent elsewhere. 

The government has changed the existing agreement on transport funding, which was introduced due to toll roads being a heated topic during the 2019 municipal election, to allow local authorities to increase the cost of using roads to fund other transport improvements. 

“The change means that local authorities will have greater freedom to adjust toll rates. But it must be assessed in each individual case whether local changes to the toll system will require a new submission to the Storting,” the Ministry of Transport and Communications told NRK. 

Essentially the change means that the central government contribution to urban growth planning in cities used for keeping toll road prices down has been axed. 

This means that Norway’s big cities will have around 3.7 billion collectively over the next seven years that had been allocated to reduce tolls that can now be spent on other transport projects. 

However, local councils will have to agree on how the money should be spent and whether they want to increase tolls or not. 

“If local governing authorities want to change the use of the grant funds, it must be dealt with locally politically,” the Ministry of Transport and Communications said. 

Toll prices could go up from next year if local authorities choose to raise prices, according to the ministry. Newspaper Bergens Tidende reported in June that toll rates in Bergen would return to 2020 levels. In Oslo, local politicians have signalled that they are unwilling to decrease the cost of using toll roads. 

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