THE KNELL has tolled for France's pink paper driving licences.
From 2013, a new generation of digital licences, which carry information about the driver, including points, will be introduced.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said the move would be a "silent revolution" which would help to crack down on the systematic fraud surrounding France's easily forged licences.
According to Le Figaro, the introduction of the cards will bring France in line with European law. The change-over must begin in 2013 and be completed by 2033.
The cards will include a photo of the driver, which must be updated every 15 years and will also be stored digitally on the chip. Further details such as finger prints could also be stored.
Raphaël Bartolt, head of the organisation charged with introducing the cards, the Agence nationale des titres sécurisés, said: "The old pink licences are too easy to copy, and the photo stapled on top is often as old as Methuselah."
Each year 500,000 licences are declared lost or stolen in France, according to Le Figaro, a figure, it says, that indicates systemic fraud.
The digital cards will allow drivers to check the number of points on their licence more easily, currently a time-consuming process.
The system will make it easier for France to exchange data on driving offences with other European nations, as the EU seeks to crack down on crimes committed by foreign drivers.
Le Figaro said that the introduction of the new system presented an opportunity for France to begin medical tests for drivers.
France currently has no upper age limit for motorists, nor mandatory tests to see if people are fit to continue to drive.
STORY: Speeding fines to cross EU borders
iMAGINE - Fotolia.com