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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

New California law legalizes digital license plates

By Vivian ChowOctober 12, 2022

California drivers can now legally install a brand-new piece of tech on their vehicle — digital license plates.

The bill, AB 984, was authored by Assembly member Lori Wilson and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 5.

The first-of-its-kind pilot program was established in the state back in 2018 and included 175,000 participants. Now, millions of licensed drivers can install the tech-savvy hardware.

The digital plate is created by Reviver and utilizes an electronic ink-style display, similar to those found on an e-reader.

Notably, the digital plate opens up a slew of customization possibilities including color choices and border displays (similar to a license plate frame.) The hardware connects to an app and allows owners to utilize vehicle location services, security features, stolen vehicle reports, registration renewals without the need for stickers or visiting a DMV location, and more.

The plates can display different emergency messages, such as whether a vehicle is stolen or an AMBER Alert. A built-in location tracker will allow police to easily locate a stolen car, according to Reviver.

There are currently two options to choose from — a battery-powered version or a hardwired version.

The battery-powered option is available for all vehicles and is a “self-installed model with a replaceable 5-year battery available at $19.95/month.”

The hardwired version is “only offered to commercial businesses and features a hard-wired, professionally installed model with integrated telematics features and a backlit display, at $24.95/month.”

Currently, only two other states allow digital license plates — Arizona and Michigan — while Texas allows digitized plates only for commercial vehicles. Ten other states are currently in various stages of adopting digital plates in the future.

“California is home to the rapidly growing technology of digital license plates,” says the company. “California has always been a place for innovation and opportunity, and AB 984 shows how we can use technology to improve compliance, offer convenience, and develop industry standards.”

The digital plates are now available for Californians to purchase.

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