Driving

Car insurance premiums for most honest motorists could be cut by up to £15 a year as a result of a new electronic online driving records system due to be in place by the middle of 2015. The new system will allow insurers to instantly check drivers' licence or traffic offence details using your licence number before selling them a policy.

The "paper counterpart" licence which is currently issued with the driver's photocard licence is due to be phased out by 2015. Old-fashioned paper car tax discs will also be scrapped, while a new system will allow drivers to pay the tax by monthly direct debit. The change will also eliminate the extra administration costs involved in obtaining this paperwork.

Driving records are among 25 public services due to be migrated online by 2015. Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said the UK now leads the world in handling this digitisation process, which has already saved taxpayers more than a billion pounds a year.

The agency responsible, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) told the BBC: "Although some services cannot be delivered digitally, such as assessing a customer's fitness to drive, we can improve the processes supporting the delivery of these services through making greater use of digital tools".

Although the rental industry will also be affected, a spokesman for the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association refuted government claims the change will reduce the cost of car hire.

Because the UK doesn't have a national ID system, drivers will initially prove their identity and access the new online system by supplying their postcode and National Insurance number. Eventually all government online services are intended to be accessible via the customer's online banking system, meaning you will be able to quickly and easily run any required check by simply clicking on an icon in your banking interface.

Mr Maude says anyone daunted by this hi-tech solution will also be able to get help from a call centre, library or post office, but I reckon most UK drivers are ready for an easier, quicker system, especially if it will save them money.