Interview with Roberto Siegrist, Director of SERTRACEN
El Salvador was one of the very first countries to introduce a smart card-based driving license and Setracen, as the system integrator selected for this project by the authorities, has accumulated valuable experience.
"Mr Siegrist, can you quickly summarize the project and its tangible benefits?"
"We designed and delivered a nationwide multi-application smart card solution to successfully manage the nation’s driver’s license, vehicle registration and tax payment procedures and processes. We set up a highly integrated and efficient infrastructure linking the Ministry of the Interior, Transport, Police and Customs.
Now in its 14th year of operation, more than 10 million electronic documents have been issued in El Salvador, and 76,000 new cards are issued every month.
I see four main benefits impacting both drivers, authorities and tax-payers:
• Convenience: the biometric enrolment and issuance processes take 30 minutes only
• Better tax collection: tax evasion has been reduced by 35% after just one year of operation
• Impact on commerce: illegal car importation has been slashed
• Impact on crime: car theft has been reduced dramatically
Additionally, the program has been effective in compelling drivers and vehicle owners to be more accountable for their actions, resulting in more responsible driving habits, fewer accidents and lower insurance premiums."
What would be your recommendations for our readers?
"I would say:
1. Secure driving license electronically to actively combat document fraud and increase the level of trust in the document. I would say, as, in El Salvador, biometric enrolment and a short period of renewals are also crucial here. Having a document created, say, 40 or 50 years ago and still in circulation is not acceptable!
2. Ensure compliance with international and regional driving license standards. El Salvador is a small country and interoperability with other countries can be instrumental in the future for fighting cross-border crime.
3. Build a modern, secure driving license and vehicle register on which police and other public administrations can confidently and sustainably rely on.
4. Try to set up a shared and future-proof platform for the electronic driving license that can be used for the delivery of public services for all government authorities as well as private organizations.
5. Provide driver’s license holders with a guarantee that their data is protected and can be exchanged in confidence.
6. Facilitate day-to-day police life with mobile verification equipment to allow reliable verification. Significant cost savings can be achieved here."