Tuesday, September 10, 2013
States are testing electronic license plates. Instead of stamped metal identifiers, they are exploring a digital message field that not only provides the license number but can show other information as well, such as an expired registration. It's an idea that could put prisons out of business, since that is where many plates are made, but it will need a PR campaign to convince drivers. Who wants to be behind the wheel with a warning message illuminated on one's vehicle, inviting the police to pull one over and issue a ticket? States might ultimately force drivers to take digital plates, but not without protest. The thrust of a campaign might need to be why electronic plates are better for car owners and not just that it is less expensive for the state to issue and control them. Like most new ideas, there will be resistance at first and acceptance over time. It might not be too many years before a curious child asks a parent, "What is a license plate?"