[Pros and Cons] Electronic License Plates

The
idea of replacing conventional license plates with high-tech ones has
been around for a couple of years now, and it’s highly likely that in
the near future all cars will have digital plates instead of the
metal ones that have been around for over a century.

At
the moment, license plates are one of the few aspects of a car that
have remained practically the same since the invention of the
automobile. Almost all other parts have become more sophisticated,
which has resulted in vehicles that are more fuel efficient, have
better performances and are more eco-friendly, and it seems that now
the time has come for plates to undergo a major makeover. While
proponents of electronic license plates claim that digitalizing
license plates has many benefits, there are some reasonable concerns
about the negative effects it might have, especially on people’s
privacy.

The
main reason why some states are thinking about issuing digitalized
license plates is to make the vehicle registration process simpler,
more efficient and more convenient. It would allow state DMVs to
process license plate applications much faster, and some say that it
would help state agencies save a lot of money. For example, some
legislators in California have said that the state DMV could save
about $20 million a year, since it won’t have to mail renewal
stickers and paper registration cards to drivers. However, there is
no information on how much it would cost to produce millions of
digital license plates.

In
addition to modernizing the registration process, electronic license
plates could help law enforcement agencies track car thieves and
other criminals, as well, which means they can help make streets
safer. Also, DMVs will be able to use these plates to display
messages on them, regarding an expired driver’s license or
registration.

As
far as disadvantages are concerned, the biggest issue is that
authorities could use electronic license plates to invade people’s
privacy. The government could easily use them to track your location
at any given moment, and collect and store that information for an
indefinite period of time. That’s why privacy groups are adamant that
some sort of legislature has to be created, that would regulate how
states can use the data collected through digitalized license plates,
and who will have access to that information.

No
one can tell for sure when and if digital license plates will become
a reality, but for now, there are a couple of programs that could
give us an idea of how license plates may look in the future. In
California, there is a three-year program to install digital license
plates on 160,000 vehicles, and production costs will be covered the
company that manufactures the plates, called Smart Plate. Similar
pilot programs were launched recently in New Jersey and South
Carolina
.

While
privacy concerns are a real issue that will have to be resolved so
that electronic license plates can be accepted by the general public,
they do provide some very good benefitsPsychology Articles, so it’s an idea that is
worth pursuing and they will probably come into effect in the near
future.

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