PennDOT is using 20 state vehicles, including dump trucks, crew cabs, passenger vehicles, and a van to test out digital license plates before lawmakers in our commonwealth decide whether or not to approve legislation for the plates. These tester vehicles are predominantly in central and northwest Pennsylvania in Adams, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Forest, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mercer, Perry, Venango, Warren, and York counties.
PennDOT Communications Director Erin Waters-Trasatt said that Driver and Vehicle Services staff are testing the plates for “readability, durability, and reliability.” She also said that “the pilot is being conducted at no cost to the commonwealth.”
The maker of the plates, Reviver, claims that digital plates improve the old ones by adding personalization, weather alerts, automated parking, enhancing vehicle security, offering geolocating, and tracking mileage. Digital plates also have governmental benefits like easily identifying and locating vehicles with expired registrations, stolen vehicles, expired tags, and finding the vehicles reported for Amber Alerts. These could lead to less instances of vehicle crimes, like hit-and-run accidents, because of tracking and other features.
Though these plates could do a lot of good through their e-link technology, they are highly controversial. Ordinary citizens who have not committed crimes don’t like the idea of plates being used to track and record their movements, and that they do not have control over what is displayed on the plate, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Not to mention that digital plates will most likely cost more than standard plates.
However, the digital plates have not become available to the public in our state just yet. Waters-Trasatt said, “Legislation would be required for these to become available beyond the pilot.” If approved by the General Assembly, Pennsylvania would join Arizona, California, and Michigan as the only states with digital license plates.
At Shrager & Sachs, we know driving in Philadelphia can easily result in a car crash. If you’ve experienced a car accident in the city, contact us for legal advice regarding your options.