Issuance of Digital License Plates
Submitted by: Highway Safety Committee
WHEREAS, license plates serve one common purpose; to identify motor vehicles; and
WHEREAS, while the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is generally supportive of technology advancements, the IACP does not support the issuance of digital license plates without the following provisions being addressed and will continue to monitor progress related to these provisions prior to taking a definitive position of support or opposition:
- The issuing authority has tested and proven the digital license plate to be reliably readable by license plate readers used by law enforcement, tolling, automated enforcement, and parking enforcement entities;
- The alphanumeric characters constituting the official license plate number be displayed whenever a vehicle, in motion, stationary, or unoccupied, is located in an area where the jurisdiction’s vehicle control code is enforceable;
- The adoption of a digital license plate is not be used as a precursor to remove the requirement of a front plate in those jurisdictions that currently require a front license plate;
- The digital license plate meets the design requirements outlined in a nationally recognized standard such as the License Plate Standard, Edition 2, in the United States published in 2020 by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), including, but not limited to, minimum visibility from a given distance equivalent to no less than 75 feet;
- Investigators have sufficient access to a digital license plate device in order to ensure that they can adequately assess whether it has been damaged, hacked, or altered in any way; and conduct any necessary forensic investigations.
WHEREAS, the aforementioned requirements are paramount for fast and reliable identification of vehicles by law enforcement officers, other enforcement entities; and
WHEREAS, an effort to repeal the requirement for front license plates are sometimes made in response to budgetary or other non-safety-centric considerations; and
WHEREAS, if such efforts are successful, they would have a serious and negative effect on the ability of law enforcement officers to effectively identify vehicles or to initiate reasonable suspicion vehicle stops; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the IACP recognizes that the efficient and reliable identification of vehicles is a critical element of national, state, and local safety and security and supports the issuance of front and rear license plates with clearly identifiable registration numbers and the jurisdiction of registration; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that, while it is recognized that digital license plates can offer many public and highway safety benefits, those benefits cannot be maximized unless the aforementioned functional requirements are fully met.