Creativity is sometimes born out of desperation. Make no mistake, California is desperate.
With a $19 billion rock around its neck and both sides of the aisle gridlocked over a solution, a creative new bill might come to the rescue. Should SB1453 become reality, the state would issue electronic license plates that display advertisements whenever a vehicle is stopped for more than 4 seconds.
This bill, introduced by State Sen. Curren Price (D-LA), has no formal opposition. Then again, it hasn't gone before the state legislature yet. Nobody's even gotten out the pencil to figure out just how much money could be saved or gained by the ads. But in a state where people take pride in their cars, there are some basic questions that need consideration.
Will the plate operate by motion sensor or GPS? Not likely the general public will approve of the government being able to track their movements.
Who chooses the ad? Do you really want "King Stahlman Bail Bonds" popping up on your bumper every time you stop at a light?
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M. Conrad Jordan is the Chief Executive of Smart Plate, the company developing the license plate technology. He says the plates could also be used as a way to display personalized messages. So when do you get to use the plate to support your favorite team and when does the state get to use it to make money? How distracting will a plate like this be to other drivers?
You can bet questions like these will be at the forefront of any discussion regarding the introduction of these plates.
There are some potential positives in this proposal. Most noteworthy the ability to broadcast emergency information like Amber Alerts. This is a great way to get information to the public fast.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't taken a position on the issue and neither has the CHP. Should the bill pass, the highway patrol would act as consultant during the DMV's investigative process. Potential advertisers would contract directly with the DMV.
Would any ad be worth standing in that line?