Attorney Published Article
Georgia Enacts Digital License Plate Regulations, Effective October 1stRead Time: 2 mins
Beginning October 1, 2022, in lieu of the traditional metal license plate issued by the Georgia Department of Revenue (“Department”), motor vehicle owners may display a digital license plate provided by a state-approved digital license plate provider. The final rule, effective October 1, 2022, was published in June. Georgia is the fifth state to approve digital license plates, following Arizona, California, Colorado, and Michigan. (Earlier this year, Texas approved such plates for commercial fleets of twenty-five or more vehicles, but it has not yet approved them in non-commercial applications.)
Digital license plates typically include a processing unit, storage media, and wireless connectivity all built into an electronic display—similar to a tablet e-reader and roughly the same size as a traditional license plate. However, while such plates may look like a traditional license plate, the technology makes it easier for vehicle owners to maintain their title, registration, and other vehicle records—essentially eliminating DMV visits altogether. Conversely, the technology also makes it easier for creditors to track and locate vehicles (such as for repossession purposes) and for the state to monitor citizens’ driving habits and general whereabouts—all of which raise legal, privacy, ethical, and safety concerns.
Georgia’s new rules define “digital license plate” as a license plate that receives wireless data communication to display information electronically. Only persons or entities approved by the Department may supply such hardware and services to vehicle owners. Further, each device must be certified by the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority as complying with state readability standards, among other requirements. (The Department has also published design guidelines.) Of note, the Department will still issue a metal license plate, and vehicle owners must keep the Department-issued metal plate in the vehicle at all times.
Going forward, expect more states to adopt similar laws. Several jurisdictions are already exploring the feasibility and viability of this technology, including Florida, Illinois, and Texas.
Reprinted with permission from the American Bar Association’s Business Law Today September Month-In-Brief: Business Regulation & Regulated Industries.