California speeds up trial of digital licence-plate ads to plug deficit
CALIFORNIA is considering using digital car number plates, which would switch to advertisements when vehicles are stuck in traffic, as a way to raise money to tackle its $19bn (€15bn) budget deficit. The electronic plates would look like standard plates when the car is in motion, showing the registration number.
But when a car stopped for more than four seconds, in a jam or at a red light, scrolling adverts would be displayed to people sitting in the vehicles behind. Advertisers would buy space from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
Drivers would also be able to have their plates show personal messages, such as the name of their favourite sports team. Obscene messages would not be allowed and a section of the plate would continue to show the registration number at all times.
In emergencies, the plates could also be used to display public service announcements such as missing children alerts.
Curren Price, a state senator, said California was trying to be the first to introduce the technology. A bill being considered by state politicians would allow for safety tests ahead of its introduction.
A company called Smart Plate in San Francisco is developing the plates and sees them as an outlet for advertisers and drivers. (© Daily Telegraph, London)