If you love flashing electronic billboards, California may soon be your state of choice. A new bill in the California legislature, currently under review in the Assembly Transportation Committee, would allow the DMV to partner with innovative companies, such as Hurst Chemical Company, to research and develop new e-license technology. According to proponents, this expansion of technology would not only generate new jobs, but also create a potential source of new income for the cash-strapped state in the form of advertisements.

The plates would basically look like normal license plates. However, when the car stops for more than 4 seconds, advertisements and public service announcements, such as Amber alerts, would appear. Senator Curren D. Price, Jr., the bill’s sponsor, said, “This legislation provides a unique opportunity for California to work in partnership with some of the state’s most innovative enterprises to rethink how we can use our most basic assets to achieve greater efficiencies and cost savings, while generating new revenue for the state.”

The bill raises many potential issues. Many critics point out that the plates would be distracting, potentially leading to dangerous accidents. Others point out that this technology would be an extremely tempting target for hackers. Finally, there are serious concerns with privacy and ownership issues that California lawmakers will surely have to consider before moving ahead with implementation.

However, for now, California seems willing to push forward with the proposed solution to the budget crisis, and it is conceivable that other states might follow suit. I say: why not? It might be nice to have something to read in a traffic jam.

Emily Larish

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