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California Considering Ads on Cars With E-Plates

Mercury News reports that as electronic billboards become a more commonplace method of advetising, the California Legislature is considering a bill that would allow the state to begin researching the use of electronic license plates for vehicles.

The license plates are supposed to be a way for California, which is currently facing a $19 billion deficit, to make money. When a car is moving, the plates would display normally. However, if you were stopped for more than four seconds (think red lights, stop signs, pedestrian crossings and parking lots), your plate would change to display digital ads or other messages. Mercury reports that your license plate number would remain visible at all times but we're assuming it'd be less prominent when it has to share real estate with a company logo or advertising slogan. The coolest part is probably that plates could be used to distribute emergency messages, like traffic reports or amber alerts.

"We're just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues," he said. "It's an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront," the bill's author, Democratic Sen. Curren Price of Los Angeles, is quoted as saying.

Would you be open to display advertisements on your car in this way? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more here.

*Image via CBS

Jane McEntegart is Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America, and previously worked for more than 7 years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor.

  • eddieroolz
    Yeah, while we're trying to eliminate texting/calling while driving, California's busy thinking about more ways to distract drivers...
  • lashabane
    Dispatch: 911, what's your emergency?

    Panicked driver: Someone just cut me off and sent me off the road!

    Dispatch: OK, calm down sir. Did you get the license plate of the vehicle?

    Panicked driver: V I A G R A
  • Kelavarus
    It's my damn car. Unless they're offering to pay ME, no, I don't want their ad on it.
  • wolflive
    Wow, 1st if I cant believe my state is that desperate to make up for the debt we're in. 2nd....This is a HUGE Epic Fail. 3rd...I'm moving if this gets voted in.
  • keczapifrytki
    brought to you by "Weeds"
    season 5 out on dvd!!
  • If the bill passed, you would likely have to pay to _not_ have the ads. Since the state government would be generating revenue from the ads they allow to be displayed (because the plate itself is government property until it expires for the year), they would likely make you pay an offset if you desired to have an ad-free plate.

    On a semi-related note, this would give officers incentive to hunt down and ticket those with expired tags. They are costing the state potential revenue, after all.
  • lo_vaquero
    Nope. If I wanted ads on my vehicle, I'll arrange it myself. Thank you very much.
  • ngom52
    Anyone seen the movie Idiocracy? 500 years from now even your own clothing has ads on them
  • Anomalyx
    so... the government is going to legally require us to advertise so they can profit?
    Well, I guess technically no, because you can always just not have a car, but it's pretty darn close to legally mandated advertising for everybody.

    Plus there are other concerns. If electronic, what about rain? When the teenager who was texting bumps and breaks your license plate in the parking lot and drives off, can you get a ticket for failing to advertise for the government? How long before government propaganda appears on the plates? How long before someone is forced to display an ad that is offensive to them in one way or another?

    I'm sure they haven't thought this through; it's a horrible idea that will cause nothing but problems. Try cutting back grossly excessive spending, and giving elected officials pay cuts (after all, aren't they "public servants"?) before you force citizens to advertise for your profit.
  • vertigo_2000
    What if I'm against abortion, but my license plate is advertising an abortion clinic.

    Vegetarian's plates advertising for a steakhouse.

    I'm driving a Honda, but my plates are advertising Toyota.

    Pick your poison. People get very militant about the things they believe in.