Technology is vastly changing the landscape in the transportation industry. In regards to the modern automobile, one part of the vehicle has gone without advancement. The metal license plate has not changed since New York became the first state to require license plates in 1901.
The digital age has finally dawned for the license plate, and it is getting the treatment it deserves. According to bizjournals.com, “several companies are applying digital technology to what has long been just a slab of metal, in hopes of making it cheaper to update your vehicle’s registration- and turning it into a portal to the connected world.” There could potentially be significant benefits by implementing a digital license plate system. For instance, Amber Alerts could be flashed on the plate in real-time, stolen vehicles plates could be displayed as well as weather warnings and motorists could add personalized embellishments such as favorite football teams. Advertisers are also pushing to go digital. Ads could be displayed on parked vehicles and drivers could be compensated for allowing advertisements to be displayed when vehicles are parked outside of storefronts.
On the other hand, do drivers really need another distraction on the road? According to NBC news, “Driver distraction is one of the biggest killers of teenagers in the United States. Having one more thing to look at while driving will take our eyes off the road for a second or two more, which will have some side effects.” As the digital age of the license plate becomes more prevalent around the country, we will see messages from both sides of the aisle regarding safety and commercialization. It will be interesting to see where the future takes us.