Gov. Brown Extends Electronic License Plate Pilot Program

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SAN DIEGO — Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) announced today that Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Electronic License Plate Pilot Program extension bill into law. Senate Bill (SB) 1399 extends the sunset date from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2019 on an existing California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) pilot program that evaluates alternatives to license plates and registration documents.

“I applaud the Governor for signing this significant piece of legislation into law. We need more time to adequately assess the technologies and ensure that the DMV obtains enough data to provide a comprehensive report to the Legislature,” stated Sen. Hueso. “This bill will revolutionize the future of license plates by improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of vehicle registration fees.”

The DMV spends over $20 million annually in postage for vehicle license renewal notices, new registration cards, and license plate tags. Currently, there are wireless-capable devices being developed that could reduce DMV processing and mailing expenditures related to vehicle registration.

Previously introduced by Sen. Hueso, SB 806 (Hueso) Chapter 569, Statutes of 2013, authorized the DMV to conduct a pilot project to test devices that would serve as alternatives to license plates, registration stickers, and registration cards.

Extending the pilot program will open the door for further advances. There is significant complexity associated with such a pilot program given that it involves smartphone technology, connecting to vehicle dealerships, and interfacing with internal DMV systems.

Through this pilot program, digital license plates are currently being tested on the road in the San Francisco Bay Area. The extension will allow additional time test prototypes in other California climate zones, including deserts, mountains and high-moisture coastal areas. These additional deployments are needed to assess the product and confirm its designed works within the broad spectrum of climates found in California.