Are Electronic License Plate Ads The Next Rage On The Road?

Because we all know that the two things the world lacks these days are (1) advertisements and (2) car accidents, a California State Assemblyman has put forth a bill we kill both birds with the same 23-car pileup on the freeway by replacing our boring, non-revenue-generating license plates with fancy electronic ones complete with advertising.

The bill, put forth by Assemblyman Curren Price of L.A., is one of many being considered as a way of chiseling away at the state’s $19 billion deficit.

“We’re just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues,” he explained. “It’s an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront.”

Here’s how the Associated Press describes the plates:

The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light. The license plate number would remain visible at all times in some section of the screen.

In emergencies, the plates could be used to broadcast Amber Alerts or traffic information.

Should the bill pass, advertisers would deal directly with that most friendly of bureaucracies, the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

The CEO of San Francisco-based Smart Plate, which is still in the development stages of a plate that would meet the bill’s needs, says he envisioned this kind of license plate as an extension of the popular license plate frames that people use to show support for their favorite sport team or alma mater:

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.

Give us your thoughts on this topic. Should the state be able to make money from advertising on your car?

In California, license plates might go electronic [MercuryNews.com]

Thanks to Jim for the tip!

Comments

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  1. defectiveburger says:

    fuck no. this is ridiculous

    • msbask says:

      Well said. I agree.

    • spamtasticus says:

      Hell yes they can do this. Just remember that since I won’t get a piece of the action you will no longer charge me a title fee for the car nor a registration fee. In other words. “Fuck No”.

  2. Paul in SF says:

    Hackers, start your engines!

    • sp00nix says:

      wont be hard to spoof your plate and run some EZ pass lanes.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Hell, you wouldn’t even need to hack the things. Just build your own look-alike electronic plates that you could change at will. It is a completely idiotic idea that must die now.

  3. smo0 says:

    I don’t think so. Unless I get FREE registration with it (for your average new car, here in las vegas, it’s about 400-500 a year to register) they can go EFF themselves.

    People get the “car wraps” riddled with advertising to cheapen to get rid of their car payments all together, totally voluntary.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      THIS. I see this as some kind of new requirement that gets passed on to motorists because now we’re talking about LCD screens.

      And while we’re at it, how long until somebody hacks those LCD screens for nefarious purposes? A kind of modern-day James Bond rotating license plate where you can just change the numbers to something random and un-runnable. Now the cops have to have some kind of transponder detection device to make sure they, and not you, have control over the plate display.

      From where I sit in New York State, I can see how Albany could pervert the intent of this nine ways from Sunday.

      • smo0 says:

        Things wrong with this whole idea:
        1. No consumer kick backs or registration discounts.
        2. The potential hacking.
        3. Another road distraction – could cause major accidents.
        4. If you are in said accident, this isn’t just a “bent license plate,” this is a shattered LCD screen – who foots the bill for replacing it?
        5. Who’s replacing your car battery when it goes into “early retirement” due to the fact that this would be using up energy – especially if it doesn’t shut all the way when the engine is off.

        I could go on….

        • Pax says:

          Other problems I can see with this scheme:

          (A) Does the driver get to opt out of any particular advertisement? The owner of a given piece of property should have the absolute, final say in what (if any) advertisements are or are not displayed on that property … no matter how mobile that property is.
          - do Pro-Choice and Pro-Life activists get to opt out of advertisements for the opposing position?
          - do religious conservatives get to opt out of birth-control or other sex-related product advertisements?
          - how about tobacco and alcohol advertisements, can people opt out of THEM?

          (B) Slippery Slope Ahead! Once you open the door to government-ENFORCED and government-MANDATED advertising, where does it stop? Might we one day be required to install LCD screens on or in our doors, trunks, or other locations … which then display someone ELSE’S choice of advertisements? What about our windows? Semitransparent displays are already possible … is our rear window going to become a mobile, miniature billboard, too?

          • smo0 says:

            I hate the movies somtimes.

            Minority Report.

            But yeah, what if you’re subjecting to advertising you really don’t care to see (well shit, for me that’s ALL advertising) but anyone who forks over enough cash can get their beliefs slapped on a car.
            Reminds me of the time a pro-lifer was hanging out brochures which depicted aborted fetus’.

            I DON’T F*CKING WANNA SEE THAT SH*T ON A CAR!

        • BeFrugalNotCheap says:

          What government drone dreamt THIS up? What a feeble, misguided, and downright ridiculous concept. My god….this is just too stupid.

  4. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    what idiot thought this up?

    wow-not a big ? that your state has a 19 billion $$ deficcit.

  5. TuxthePenguin says:

    This has to be the most idiotic thing I’ve heard all day.

    First, there’s the whole freedom of association. I’ll just wait until that Baptist minister’s license plate displays an ad for Planned Parenthood or Captain Morgan. You could probably stretch it to Freedom of Speech (which is also the freedom to remain silent).

    Then there’s the fact that I have to pay to register my car for the plate and now I have to advertise?

    How about this – STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE!

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      How about this – fix your damn constitution and get rid of those idiotic supermajority requirements. The problem isn’t too much spending – California has already cut its programs to the bone – it’s the fact that you need a 2/3 majority to pass a damned tax bill. I’m waiting for the governor to throw up his hands and say, “OK, fine! We just won’t fix potholes anymore. When you’re having your expensive new car towed to the shop for new tie rods because nobody wants to pay to have I-5 fixed, don’t come crying to me like a girly man.”

      Yes, things are that bad in the Golden State.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        See, that’s where I disagree. I bet we both could go through the California budget and easily find more places to cut spending. Now, it might not be politically popular, but that shouldn’t be what stops people.

        I’ve never understood why when people get into deficit/debt problems, the solution is to stop spending money you don’t have. But when a government has that same problem, many people will change that answer to “raise taxes!”.

        As a CPA with some understanding how governmental accounting works (I’ll admit I’m no expert because its arcane and bass-ackwards at times compared to “real” accrual accounting) budget shortfalls are the result of a) bad estimates and b) too rosy of pictures.

        And its not like budget problems are new to California. When was the last year that there wasn’t a budget “crisis”. Did the economy make things worse? Sure. But its not like this is a new thing (ie: budget issues in Texas). If Texas said they needed to raise taxes to make things work, I’d trust them. But California… eh, not so much.

        • dragonfire81 says:

          Governments are elected by the people. If they give the people something and then take it way (as would have to happen to cut spending) that generally doesn’t go over well. The other way to balance a budget that does not involve cutting programs is raising taxes.

          Most people prefer higher taxes to cutting social programs that cost a lot of money. Let’s say tomorrow the Federal Government decided to basically eliminate medicaid to cut spending. Everyone who promoted the idea would be vilified and kicked out of office next election. Cutting programs (effectively taking things away from people who believe they are entitled to them) doesn’t get you re-elected.

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            And see, that’s how we get into situations like this. People are more worried about “getting re-elected” than doing what is right.

            Take a look at New Jersey. That governor probably won’t get reelected, but better to fix the problem than just let it fester.

            And then there is always the “Washington Memorial” defense. Whenever the parks department is under threat of its budget being slashed, it always says “it’ll have to close the Washington Monument.” No it won’t, it has other places it could absorb that budget cut, but its the more politically SAVVY defense.

            There are other places that can be cut. Both of us could find places. They might not match, but we’d eventually find common ground.

      • bravohotel01 says:

        Some places are already drastically cutting services. Colorado Springs, Colo. is an example that I hope to not experience personally. They are:

        - Turning off one of every three streetlights,

        - Eliminated trash pickup, closed all restrooms and curtailed mowing down to once a month instead of weekly in city parks,

        - Sold three of its police helicopters, and

        - Gutted its public transportation by selling nine buses and ceasing evening and weekend service.

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123691065

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You could probably stretch it to Freedom of Speech (which is also the freedom to remain silent).

      I’m reminded of the article about the large, gross posters stores that sold cigarettes were having to put up. (Someone made a similar comment)

      I don’t think it’s even a stretch: Do you really have Freedom of Speech if the government can require you to say things?

  6. Javin says:

    Sweet Jesus I hope they do this. I know how badly they’ll fuck it up, and I know enough about technology that I’ll be able to post anything I WANT to on YOUR license plates. This will be a RIOT! Can’t WAIT for it!

  7. Krusty783 says:

    This is a horrible idea. Once this starts, how long do you think it would take before the DMV would start compiling statistics about where and how you drive so they could create targeted ads. Then they would force you to have some kind of wifi receiver on your vehicle so they could change ads based on where you are. This would be a double revenue boost because they could charge more for ads and track you vehicle & issue you speeding citations by tracking the receiver.

    Of course, that assumes that the DMV could actually process the data before it was stolen by a hacker.

    • menty666 says:

      There’s already talk here in MA of using the transponder info to calculate how fast it took you to get from gate A to gate B, and if it’s shorter than should happen under the speed limit, ticket you.

      So if they start doing location aware ads, that means the location is logged from point A to point B and they can tag you for speeding.

      Not that you should be speeding, but you won’t be getting any sort of municipal refund if it takes 3 times as long either. But the point is, it would replace traffic cameras as a privacy problem and revenue generator for towns.

      • jesusofcool says:

        Seriously? God, could the MA highway authorities be any stupider? The toll booths are already the most ill run and expensive monstrosities on earth. (MA resident here).

        • menty666 says:

          Yup. I’d be a little more agreeable about it if they followed the NY model and had them all be fastpass enabled. Given it’s supposed to save the state money, you’d think it would be a no-brainer to do so instead of forcing all the odd lane changes as people hurtle towards the booths

  8. Murph1908 says:

    Hey. I have an idea, California. How about repealling some of the ridiculously expensive, asinine programs you have enacted over the past few decades that have put you on the cusp of bankruptcy?

    Nah. That’s silly talk.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Ummm… Consumerist, where is the number for the insane asylum? I think this man has grown a brain and we can’t have that…

    • Southern says:

      I know I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I can’t help it.

      CA pays between $6B and $10B a year on Illegal Immigration.

      • smo0 says:

        They sure do. A part of that is health care costs.

        FLAME ON!

        • dragonfire81 says:

          Right because of the immigrants who abuse the hospitals since they aren’t allowed to turn anyone away for care.

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        Exactly how much in taxes do they collect from those same illegal immigrants. How much in employment taxes do they collect from the employers that hire them.

        Don’t pull a hammy getting those amounts for us.

        • Southern says:

          http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/immigrationnaturalizatio/a/caillegals.htm

          http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/10/local/me-illegal10 – These are the states own numbers, not something made up by some right-winger.

          How about this one: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/87xx/doc8711/12-6-Immigration.pdf – from the Congressional Budget Office report titled “The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments” – Page 3, (and I quote) :

          “The estimates that CBO reviewed measured costs associated with providing services to unauthorized immigrants that ranged from a few million dollars in states with small unauthorized populations to tens of billions of dollars in California (currently the state with the largest population of unauthorized immigrants). Costs were concentrated in programs that make up a large percentage of total state spending—specifically, those associated with education, health care, and law enforcement.”

          I’m not trying to turn this into a debate about immigration, just pointing out that if CA wanted to work on saving their budget, they might want to consider what is causing a large part of their problem(s) in the first place.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Our economy is in the tank because of the greedy belief that every item and every step of every transaction must make money – and not just a little money, but lots of it. Consequently, the economy bubbled and burst as speculative greed inflated the price of everything, while taking money and bread out of the mouths of the powerless. It’s not just a problem of too many programs or not enough money, but about how we have structured our economy, who gets paid, how much, and for what. Greedy people never want to be told they need to rein it in, just like alcoholics never listen to people who tell them their lives and the lives of those around them would be improved by drinking less or not at all.

    • danmac says:

      That’s a gross oversimplification…there are a litany financial forces that have hurt California’s economy. For example, the California energy crisis alone ended up costing the state tens of billions of dollars (thanks, Enron!)…add events like that to the implosion of the real estate market and you’ve got a state that’s in a helluva position.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        Except that most of what California points to has been experienced at some level by other states, but they aren’t have this level of problems.

        Usually when governments get into trouble, its not due to taxes, its due to spending.

        But, for the sake of argument, what % of revenue did California collect compared to what it estimated (ie, 70%, etc)?

    • dangermike says:

      don’t get me started. you know things are bad when Willie Brown of all people is saying that unions are largely to blame, and that state employees are vastly overpaid.

      Willie Brown!

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’m sorry, non-income generating license plates?!? Then why do my generic ones cost so much money?

    • Putts says:

      Not sure if it’s the same in your state or not, but in Ohio, it’s only like another $5 or $10 over the cost of registration to get new plates. My state’s obviously not making a profit over selling license plates.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        In many states, those plates are made by prison labor. It’s more than a bit skeevy to profit from prison labor. The cost of the plate is all that should be paid in such circumstances.

  10. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I am all for this, presuming I no longer have to pay for plates (which of course is unlikely).

  11. [MG]LooseCannon says:

    “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.”

    There is too much potential revenue for me to believe that this wouldn’t quickly turn into “for sale” ad space. If I am paying my registration and taxes on the car I drive, then no one gets to sell ad space on it but me.

    On the other hand, if the state wants to waive my fees in return for letting them use my plate as ad space, the I might be OK with that.

  12. DashTheHand says:

    I wouldn’t mind a digital license plate, but not one that displayed ads. More like one that could be shut off when the car isn’t running.

    But, if this passes, welcome to the new age of “James Bond” plate switching where you can hack your license plate to drive like an ass or rob someone and as soon as you turn the corner flip it to another plate.

  13. Mr. Chip says:

    The obvious flaw is that a metal license plate can withstand multiple impacts with a hammer, and cannot be hacked or reprogrammed. I know of no display technology, especially one capable of receiving updates over a wireless data network, that could make the same claim.

    On the other hand, if you could get into the ad servers and push out your own images to everyone, the idea of millions of animated goatse’s on the LA freeway during rush hour is pretty fantastic.

    • whyerhead says:

      THIS. ROFLCOPTOR!!!ONEONEONE!!!!

    • BeFrugalNotCheap says:

      Goatse reference FTW!!!

      +++++1!

    • duncanblackthorne says:

      What I had to say, plus THIS. The plates themselves would end up costing several hundred dollars each just for the hardware alone, and would not withstand even a light collision. Bad idea. The politician who came up with this idea should be removed from office for being too STUPID.

  14. tedyc03 says:

    New York solved this problem years ago: every time they need a revenue boost they just redesign the plates and make everyone get the new plates when they register their cars. For $25 each.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/nyregion/11plates.html

    • DarthCoven says:

      Except they changed their minds and now the blue and gold plates are only going out with new vehicle registrations or with voluntary replacements (either at renewal or at any time between renewals). I get to keep my blue and whites until I either get a new car (and don’t transfer the plates from the old one) or replace the plates voluntarily.

  15. Nighthawke says:

    Way too distracting. I would not mind seeing bar codes being put on the plates, integrating them with parking and turnpike systems, effectively making keeping change in the car almost a moot point. All this feature is going to do is cause accidents and drain the battery.

  16. dreamfish says:

    I couldn’t tell from the article whether you had control over what the plate showed. If so, could you make your own messages and would there be any restrictions on what you could say?

    The possibilities could be endless.

  17. dragonfire81 says:

    “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.”

    WRONG! The idea here is EXACTLY to turn a vehicle into a moving billboard!

    Already we have two articles today about how obtrusive advertising is becoming. Not to mention I’m agree with the other poster who said it wouldn’t take long for someone to hack the plates and display whatever they wanted (even a fake plate number).

    On a sidenote: If a dealership tries to force me to put one of those stupid plate border tags on my car, I will NOT do business with them.

    • DarthCoven says:

      Do dealers have the authority to force you to use their plate frames? When I drove my new lease off the lot the first thing I did was remove the dealership plate frames. It’s been back to their service center for a free oil change and they didn’t say a word about it.

      • Whtthfgg says:

        There is no one forcing you. You can remove the other ad on the corner of the trunk if you know how too

        • Azzizzi says:

          I left the dealer’s tag frame on my car. I felt like I got a really good deal and don’t mind doing advertising for that dealer. The more cars that dealer sells, the lower his overhead is on each car sold.

    • menty666 says:

      worse is the new trend of emblazoning it over the top of the windshield. I’d cancel the sale if that were the case.

  18. Draygonia says:

    Anyone else gonna place bets that this will not pass and that consumerist is simply wasting our time with possible futures? In unrelated news, someone submitted a bill to get rid of mandatory insurance.

  19. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Great. As if there weren’t enough distractions while driving.

  20. ellemdee says:

    Yes, this is what we need, more distractions while driving. And I can see these things making it more difficult for your eyes to adjust to dark road conditions at night.

    No matter what the ads would be for, someone’s going to get offended (perhaps rightly so) at the subject matter and being forced to be a moving billboard for who-knows-what products and services. Assuming the ads would change to match current campaigns, the state would need to communicate with the plates wirelessly, creating a huge privacy issue.

  21. grapedog says:

    In the event of a minor fender bender…. who pays for the replacement plate?

    For DAMN sure, I’m not paying for it, not when a metal license plate does just fine through fender benders. Or is this another cost that “insurance companies” are going to have to swallow, and end up charging us more for it?

    I fucking hate politicians…

  22. AstroPig7 says:

    So… how do you get the plate number while the car is off?

    • redskull says:

      We have a winner for best reason why this is a stupid idea.

      Unless it stays on all the time, sucking your battery dry.

    • BeFrugalNotCheap says:

      Don’t ask the politician who thought this up that question. If you do they might go off like a Johnny Cab after refusing to pay the fare.

  23. RipperHoss says:

    I’m really hoping they manage to put QR codes on these licence plate ads as well. This way we can couple texting while driving to reading mobile ads while driving, yielding people with their phones out trying to scan all the the barcodes on all the hybrids around them.

    I think natural selection will take care of the rest.

  24. Polish Engineer says:

    So much wrong with this idea:

    Probably expensive, meaning the revenues earned wouldn’t be realized until you finished paying for installing all these bad boys on all the cars in CA.

    More fragile than a metal plate, meaning they have to be replaced every time someone dings it with a shopping cart at WalMart.

    Tied to power, so I assume you’re care is now unidentifiable when the battery dies.

    Distracting.

    Hackable.

    Just because an idea is new does not make it creative.

  25. cristiana says:

    I would also think that these plates would be a magnet for thieves, considering they will have a fully functioning weatherproof LCD, as well as various other electronic bits.

  26. jvanbrecht says:

    I don’t even let the dealer who I bought my car from put advertising on my car throught he use of their name/logo tags next to the vehicle model or name, or those license plate holders, there is no way in hell I am going to let them put a plate like this on my car. Then again, I live in MD, so currently thats not an issue.

  27. Thyme for an edit button says:

    The state can thereafter incur hefty legal fees as individuals and groups fight every message they don’t want on their cars that the government is making them have on their cars.

  28. flarn2006 says:

    They have no right to make it mandatory, but if it’s voluntary I don’t see a problem. Especially if they give you free or at least discounted vehicle registration.

  29. Dallas_shopper says:

    More wacky shit from California.

    And people wonder why I don’t want Californians moving here to Texas. They’ve already fucked up Austin. They’ve already fucked up the northern Dallas suburbs. STOP IT!

    • Bakergirl says:

      Dont’t forget Utah, they love Utah…With their desert and cheap housing. At least they slowed down from coming to Oregon.

    • DarthCoven says:

      Oh noes. You means to tell me all them libruhls are movin into yer state and ruining things for all you good ol’ boys?Get over yourself please.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Oh god, shut up. I voted for Barack Obama and am a social liberal.

        I hate Californians because all they do is WHINE and COMPLAIN about how Texas isn’t like California and how there are no mountains or beaches in Dallas. (Did they not consult a map before moving to a landlocked city on a prairie?) And the rest of us get to pay out the nose for the new highways that their gated exurban ghettos are requiring. Thanks a pantload, Fornicalia.

        And if I hear one more a-hole whine about how there are no In and Outs or Trader Joe’s in DFW, I will throw hands. We don’t CARE about that shit. Really. Seriously. If you miss beaches, mountains, In -n- Out, and Trader Joe’s…please go back to California. I’ll help you pack your bags. Hop your ass on I-20 and head west. Buh-bye.

        Get over YOURSELF.

        • DarthCoven says:

          Alright, I can dig it. I take back what I said.

          I do have to admit, they’re right to be bitching about the lack of In N Out. Wish we had them here in NYC.

          But at the same time, they’re bitching about a lack of In N Out yet they’re completely ignoring all the practically orgasmic BBQ you folks have down there. I think one makes up for the lack of the other.

          Damnit, now I’m craving some slow cooked pork…

          • Lucky225 says:

            x2 on In-N-Out, I moved from Cali to Texas and NOW Colorado, and the week I move to Colorado I learn Texas is GETTING AN IN-N-OUT, WTFz? Oh well, at least I can please this obama loving noob by moving out of his State

    • dangermike says:

      I might be among them soon. This has gotten absolutely ridiculous.

    • mythago says:

      Thanks for this relevant and insightful contribution to the thread. Your whining about relocated Californians has tons to do with whether electronic license plates are a good idea – particularly since we all know that no other state will ever possibly consider such a thing, even after hefty donations by manufacturers to state elected officials.

  30. Bakergirl says:

    I think the distraction is a huge issue, as well as hacking too, I mean I’ve seen pics of construction signs hacked online and although it’s funny, but just imagine what a hacker (Or ‘cracker’) could do to a car? And what about corporations themselves? They could presumably get info about you while you drive, where you drive, where you stop, etc, and then change the advertising accordingly. Maybe even a little cross advertiseing might evolve…Like maybe direct adverising on your TomTom? I really hope this doesn’t pass.

  31. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light. The license plate number would remain visible at all times in some section of the screen.

    I’d think law enforcement would take issue with DL #s being jammed up into some small corner where it’d be visible but unreadable just because the car isn’t moving.

  32. smo0 says:

    Just a side note: and this may not apply still – but when I read the CA driver’s handbook in 2000 – illegal lighting on the car was noted. Those blue lights people have on the bottom rim of their ricers or on the outside of the license plate…. a (possibly) flashing LED screen on your license plate would constitute illegal lighting – wouldn’t they have to change the laws all together on this? So it’s okay for the government to put illegal lighting on your car, but god forbid you have blue neon lights near your tires.

  33. ospreyguy says:

    If I get part of the profit for the ads, no problem. Other than that, F- NO. Its the same reason I rip stupid dealership decals off my cars. Unless you want to pay for the ad space, get that crap off my car.

    I bought one truck, promptly pulled off the dealer emblem which can take a while and is a pain, requires a wire cutting line and a heat gun. A week later took it in for a tire swap and they put another one on! I had some blank invoices in my car, filled it out for $750 for advertising space handed it to the maintenance manager. He said they put them on all the new cars. I responded with the point that I just took the old on off and you added an advertisement to MY vehicle that you have ZERO ownership of without any permission. You can either pay the invoice or remove it immediately. Alternatively I will come back with a stack of bumper stickers from my business and start putting them on all the cars in the lot. They removed it.

    • smo0 says:

      Bravo to your “getting them back” Doesn’t removing the logo leave holes in the car? I’ve seen them before, and always wondered. I’ve owned 4 cars, none of them had the dealership logo on it.
      If I were to buy a car with a logo, I’d ask for an additional discount on the car and I would leave it on.

  34. A.Mercer says:

    I think we should hold off until we hear some confirmation of this. The link did not seem to work so I went directly to Mercury News and could not find the article. I also did a quick Google search for a company named Smart Plate and could not find it. I went to Curren Price website and I did not see any mention of this in the legislation or news portions.

    This could easily be a fake news story.

  35. mythago says:

    Let me guess: the CEO of SmartPlate made some discreet campaign donations.

  36. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I can just see vandals smashing these things and the plate owners being charged to replace them. Fun.

  37. NoThankYou says:

    This is terrible.

    First off this means I have to probably purchase all of this new electronic equipment for this thing to work. I would imagine I would need a receiver for updates and a plug in to my vehicles power system.

    There is also the thought of electronic spam being sent throughout rush hour on our wonderful California freeways. I can only imagine the sensory overload when hundreds of electronic license plate broadcast adds during rush hour during fall nighttime. Ewwww.

    Also what language are they going to be in? What if I don’t support the add being broad casted due to personal or religious beliefs?

    What about additional security issues? Now will I have to worry about criminals stealing my electronic plates and the cost associated with replacing them? Insurance rate increases?

    It all sounds like it will be more money out of pocket.

  38. dush says:

    We can read billboards, video billboards, bumper stickers, license plate ads, gps machines; but texting while driving is dangerous. Geesh.

  39. El_Fez says:

    Not just “no”, but “Fuck No!”

    • El_Fez says:

      Actually, after thinking about it, I’ve changed my mind. I’d LOVE to see something like this come to fruition. I would seriously learn how to hack the fuck out of the plate. Next thing you know, I’m Rick Rolling the greater San Fernando Valley area!

  40. danmac says:

    Yeah…those hipster liberals have made Austin such a terrible place to live that it appears on the “Best Places to Live” list in U.S. News and World Report, Money Magazine, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine…

    http://www.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009.html

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2006/snapshots/PL4805000.html

    http://content.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2008/05/2008-best-cities-austin.html?kipad_id=47

    • danmac says:

      This response was meant to reply to an earlier comment…sorry about that.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        We have hipster liberals in Dallas too, by the way. And we don’t have to print and sell t-shirts to keep Dallas ‘weird’. It’s plenty weird on its own if you know where to look. The difference is that in Austin the hip places are jumping up and down and screaming self-consciously, “COME HERE AND BE HIP! THIS IS WHERE HIP PEOPLE HANG OUT!” In Dallas they don’t. They just quietly exist. You have to find them. Discover them. They don’t advertise.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          I have a plan to retake Austin, but it involves training police dogs to follow the scent of Axe body spray so we can sniff out the douchebags.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      I lived in Austin for six years and have lived in Texas for 29 of my 35 years. Austin was better before Californians “discovered” it. It’s been Californicated and now looks like Los Angeles complete with a very high D-bag factor.

      Thanks y’all. And Austin actually sucks in a lot of ways. There’s what the media says, and there’s what people who actually live in Austin say. They’re begging people NOT to move there. It’s crowded enough and there aren’t a whole lot of jobs to go around. Sorry to burst your bubble pal.

  41. menty666 says:

    No….As an outrageous example, the KKK got approval to participate in the “Adopt a Highway” program a few years back. Can you imagine the shock of a person of color with an ad for them on their plate? It’s not as far fetched as it seems.

    Or say you’ve got a commercial vehicle for organic foods, emblazoned with your (likely) healthy product. Then a Twinkie ad comes on the plate.

    Not to mention that people will be stealing them, hacking them, etc.

  42. scientific progress goes boink says:

    There’s a local taxi company that already does this. They use one of those annoying LED belt buckle looking things and it streams an ad very quickly. It’s impossible to read and VERY distracting when you’re driving.

  43. CapitalC says:

    NUCKING FUTS.

  44. nodaybuttoday says:

    What the hell? Would the driver be required to maintain the digital license plate? And what happens when he gets into an accident? Then he suddenly has no license plate and someone has to replace a likely expensive piece of digital equipment?

  45. Myotheralt says:

    Ok, if I drive behind a gravel hauling truck, and one of his rocks jumps out and smashes my license plate today, I only have a dent. If I have an ad plate, it will no longer function, I get pulled over, fined, and then I would have to buy a new one for $200.

    Fuck that!!

  46. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I want one I can program to say what I’m saying inside the car.

  47. AngryK9 says:

    If they give me 50% of the profits, tax free, then I’d say, sure. But otherwise, no. I am already paying for enough advertisements on my television, computer, etc.

  48. arizonaadam says:

    This idea is a non-starter. Freedom of Speech can also mean freedom FROM speech. The govt can’t make you speak on your license plate.
    Doubtful? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Free_or_Die#Legal_battle

  49. Tomas says:

    Only if I get a cut, and have control over which adds I’ll carry… ;^p

    • BeFrugalNotCheap says:

      “Only if I get a cut,….”

      Naw, you won’t.

      “and have control over which adds I’ll carry”

      Sure, as long as it’s pushing for a new casino or scolding people for not buckling up, or reminding drivers to drive safe (which means they’ll have to pause texting to read the message in the first place. god i’m getting a headache) or telling motorists to stop littering, or telling others how great that new toll road is gonna be.

  50. Paul in SF says:

    They screwed up my home state, Washington, too. But I figured out how to get back at them. I moved to San Francisco!

  51. Lucky225 says:
  52. duncanblackthorne says:

    No chance in hell I’d go along with this. It’s like something out of the Mike Judge film Idiocracy. This had better be something the general public gets to vote on so I can vote a resounding “NO!” to it.