Westchester attorney wonders if California should greenlight high-tech plates!

Everyone is broke.  Mom and Pop; you and me; towns and villages; the State of California……….even the subway’s in a hole (sorry, couldn’t resist).  The State of California, however, has come up with a unique way to raise some revenue to help plug its $19 BILLION debt.  They want to advertise on your car.  That’s right, they want to charge you to register your vehicle and then lease out space to sponsors.  Whoooooa, put on the brakes because this idea sounds rife with problems.

The plan calls for digital license plates which would run advertising banners.  The high-tech plates would actually be small computer screens which would display an image of a plate and then, when the car is stopped for four seconds or more, advertising banners would crawl across the screen, like that annoying crawl across the bottom of TV news stations.  The measure in front of the state legislature would only allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to “explore” the possibility and not actually implement the program just yet but think of the ramifications.  Also, would these high-tech tags work if the car is driven out-of-state or would out-of-state police have to guess about identifying a car that goes speeding by or commits a crime?

California could use these high-tech tags for immediate emergency notifications, such as Amber Alerts for missing children.  Further, under the proposal, motorists would have a choice as to whether to take part and as to which sponsors would be displayed on their vehicles.  I personally wouldn’t want an ad for hemorrhoid creme on my car – what a pain in the tag!

It’s unlikely the state would be allowed to censor sponsors thanks to this nation’s free speech rights.   The only limits would likely be on ads for anything deemed obscene and in California almost anything goes!  However, what happens when no one wants an ad for condoms on their bumper (although more protection could prevent accidents)?  Let alone ads for beer or wine – could that be considered promoting drinking while driving?

Customize your own plate

I think it will be several years before the creative powers that be in California figure out a way to execute this program safely.  Yet, if they think texting and cel phones while driving are a problem now………..just wait until the hackers break into the new DMV plate program and are able to deliver instant tweets.  Pick up lines will take on a whole new meaning!  “Honk if you’re horny!”

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