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!