Motorists are used to seeing digital billboards that flash ads. But is the California Legislature’s flirtation with license plate ads a bad sign?
That’s what some motorists are saying as a state Assembly committee toys with the idea of issuing digital license plates would turn the backs of cars into miniature billboards.
Lawmakers are being asked to launch a feasibility study to determine if the advertising revenue from millions of electronic license plates would help close the state’s;s $19-billion deficit. In addition to being a moneymaker, the high-tech plates also could be used to streamline automobile registration procedures and to quickly tell motorists about hazardous road conditions and Amber Alerts, officials suggest.
Critics warn, however, that the ads would distract drivers and add to a growing clutter of roadside digital billboards, freeway message boards and other intrusive signage. Some also fear that the computerized equipment that would control the advertising could be hacked and hijacked by vandals intent on posting rogue messages.