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License Plate Ads in California

Love It or Leave It: Digital, Ad-Displaying License Plates

California's budget deficit has been in the news for years, but a new proposal aims to help reduce it with a geeky touch. One state senator has proposed adding advertisements to new digital license plates. The proposal, which is now in front of the state Legislature, authorizes the California DMV to "investigate the emerging digital electronic license plate technology" and partner with tech companies to find out if digital plates have the potential to display ads.

Details on how such plates would work aren't entirely clear, but supporters say that ads would potentially be displayed only after a car is stopped for four seconds at a red light, or when in traffic. Additionally, the car's plate number would be visible at all times. Call me crazy, but no matter how hard the plate designers try to prevent distracting drivers, anything that flashes in front of me when the car is stopped will catch my eye. Maybe that's the point? Plus, if this is akin to driving around with a mini computer screen on your bumper, I could see them being a target for thieves, not just my eyes. What do you think?

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