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California Bill Proposes Digital License Plates with Advertisements

California Bill Proposes Digital License Plates with Advertisements

The license plate from Back to the Future

Shane McGlaun

A staple of summer road trips for generations has players competing to find the strangest state license plates as the family travels the highways. This game could get a new wrinkle if California passes a bill that turns the states license plates into digital versions of the current metal plates.

The California legislature is looking at a bill that would allow the DMV to issue digital license plates that would be able to show advertisements when stopped at a red light or stop sign for more than four seconds. The license number of the vehicle would be displayed at all times in a section of the screen though.

The bill is an attempt by California to pursue all means of generating income as the state faces a massive $19 billion deficit. When the car was in motion, the digital screen would look just like a normal license plate reports MercuryNews. Companies interested in advertising on the license plates would contact the DMV directly and would be charged for the advertising.

The digital plates promise more than just generating income for the state though. Supporters of the bill say that the plates could also be used to broadcast traffic information and Amber alerts for missing children.

The author of the bill proposing the digital plates is State Senator Curren Price. “We’re just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues. It’s an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront,” explained price.

One company in California called Smart Plate is already working on a design for a digital license plate. The CEO of Smart Plate, M. Conrad Jordan, told
MercuryNews that the idea behind the plate wasn’t to make the vehicle into a rolling billboard. Rather, the plate was devised to allow the driver to customize their own license plate to support organizations, sports teams, and colleges.

Jordan said, “The idea is not to turn a motorist’s vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations.”

The Governor of California announced that he would remain neutral on the bill until it reached his desk. The bill will authorize the DMV to work with Smart Plate or other firms on the development of the digital license plate. However, the costs associated with developing the plates would be paid by the company not the state. The CHP will also be consulted on the plates if the bill passes and a spokesperson said the CHP would remain neutral on the bill. So far, the bill has had no opposition and passed through the senate unanimously.

Other than customization, the new digital plates would also streamline the distribution, activation, and registration of license plates within the state of California. This could perhaps allow the state to reduce its workforce and reduce the workload at the DMV associated with license plates.

_© 2009, DailyTech.