California approves digital license plates for all vehicles; here's how it works

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Wednesday, October 12, 2022
CA approves digital license plates for all cars; here's how it works
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California is driving into the 21st century with the passing of the Motor Vehicle Digital Number Plates bill AB 984.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You've seen paper and metal license plates, but soon you will see more digital license plates on the road in California.

California is driving into the 21st century with the passing of the Motor Vehicle Digital Number Plates bill AB 984.

"It is a product of convenience and I'm all about giving people choice here in the State of California," Assemblymember Lori Wilson said.

175,000 drivers have already utilized the digital plates as part of a pilot program since 2018.

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But now, Assemblymember Lori Wilson co-authored the bill set to become law allowing for more than 27 million drivers to go digital with their vehicles, joining Michigan and Arizona.

Supporters say it's all about making life easier for the drivers.

The RPlates from California-based company Reviver allow for customization and registration renewal without even walking into the DMV.

"It's really going to be much more beneficial for them and make our processing much more efficient," DMV Policy Division deputy director Bernard Soriano said. "It's a big change, we're no longer your father's DMV and I think it's something we can all embrace and be part of."

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No more long lines at the DMV is just the start, the other benefits are the safety features.

The license plates will display different messages regarding emergency situations, like if the car is stolen or if there is an Amber Alert in the area.

"Looking at the back of a vehicle, if I'm driving behind a vehicle and I see this, it will give me a cause for concern and I will be on alert for what I can potentially see," Assm. Wilson said.

The plates also have built-in tracking technology to help locate the stolen cars, but that brings up questions of privacy.

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Could they be wrongfully tracked or even hacked into?

Assemblymember Wilson says tracking features can be disabled on privately owned cars and the bill allows for regular review of safety measures.

"Anytime that our CHP or we feel like safety is a concern in terms of license plates being altered in any kind of way, they can pull that back and make sure that is taken care of before it's continued use," Assm. Wilson said.

The battery-powered plates can be purchased with monthly rates for battery-powered plates at $19.95 per month and yearly rates at $215.40 a year for a four year agreement.

The wired plates run $24.95 for 48 months and $275.40 if paid yearly for commercial vehicles.

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