It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to bust out the “reasons the world should end” tag:
California is currently being pinned down by a massive $19 billion state deficit, and as a result, the financially stricken state has introduced a bill that would allocate resources to research electronic license plates as a possible revenue generation source.
The bill at this time is far from being an approval of the technology, but rather the first official step at determining several factors, including whether the technology would be viable, if it would be cost effective and especially if it would be safe, according to the Associated Press.
The plate, in theory, would function like a normal license plate while the vehicle was in motion by displaying the normal license plate numbers and letters – albeit digitally – but once the vehicle was stopped for four seconds it would then begin to display an advertisement in a portion of the plate. For law enforcement reasons, the plate would still display the license plate number in a smaller portion.
“We’re just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues,” said Democratic Sen. Curren Price of Los Angeles. “It’s an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront.”
In addition to being a revenue source, the plates would also be capable of being used to display Amber Alerts as well. Price also suggested that other states are also looking into the technology as well, but the Senator suggested the California Department of Motor Vehicles would likely be the first to implement its use.
Electronic plate already in the works?
According to the AP, at least one firm is already hard at work developing a plate to fit the bill. Smart Plate, based in San Francisco, California, says that they have begun development of an electronic plate, but have not yet reached production. They said if the bill were to be passed it would allow them to team up with the DMV to continue development.
M. Conrad Johnson, Smart Plate’s CEO, also told the AP that he saw potential in the plates for other uses, such as giving drivers the ability to display their own custom messages such as their favorite sports team or alama mater. “The idea is not to turn a motorist’s vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations,” he said.
This is an enormously stupid idea. Not just from the point of view of a person who loathes the pungent sea of advertisements we already have to wade through in our daily lives, but also from the point of view of anyone with half a brain. Let me see if I understand their train of thought… “Our state is leaking money like a fucking fire hose, let spend more money on stupid crap!” I know that throwing our tax dollars haphazardly at stupid shit we’d never spend it on ourselves is basically the definition of government, but this one is comical.