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Digital License Plates Now Legal for Everyone in California

  • License Plate
  • Renee Martin
  • 5 minutes

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It took nearly a decade, but now anyone in California can get a digital license plate. But just because you can get one, should you? What are digital license plates, and how do they work? More importantly, are they legal everywhere?  

A recent bill (AB-984) that just passed makes it legal for everyone in the state of California to use a digital license plate. California was the first state in the country to launch a pilot program for digital license plates. Now, they’ve moved beyond the pilot program and are making digital license plates available statewide to anyone who wants one. 

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Only one company, Reviver, now offers digital license plates, and they announced that a bill it helped steer through the California legislature had been signed into law. The original pilot program allowed for half of one percent of the state’s automobiles, or about 175,000 vehicles, to use a digital plate.

The Motor Vehicle Digital Number Plates bill (AB-984) expands that to all 40 million vehicles registered in the state. In addition, with the enactment of AB 984, digital license plates can now be affixed on commercial vehicles in Texas and on passenger vehicles in California, Michigan, and Arizona. 

But before you rush off to get your shiny new digital plate, you should know a little more about them. Here’s all the information you need about digital license plates in California and around the country.  

What are digital license plates? 

A digital license plate, sometimes known as an electronic license plate, is a vehicle-mounted identification device that produces a radio signal for tracking and digital monitoring. 

Reviver makes license plates, called RPlates, that are somewhat customizable and trackable. According to them, digital plates provide better control and convenience over your plate and the DMV registration and renewal process. 

Are digital license plates legal? 

Reviver’s RPlates are completely street legal and may be driven anywhere in the United States. In addition, if purchased and registered in permitted states, they are also legal while crossing North American borders into Canada and Mexico. 

What states have approved digital license plates? 

Digital license plates are currently legally available in California, Arizona, Michigan, and Texas. 

How do digital license plates work? 

Digital license plates, like Reviver’s, operate via a cloud-based network. This connects vehicle owners to their vehicles and state motor vehicle administrations. 

The plates can be battery-powered or plugged directly into your car’s electrical system. In addition, they contain a monochrome HD display that can show your personalized license plate if your registration is current or an “invalid” sign if it is out of date. The battery in the battery-powered alternative lasts five years. 

How to get a digital license plate 

  • The first step is to order your Rplate.  
  • Then download the Reviver App Store or Google Play.  
  • The next step is to create a Reviver account. 
  • Once that’s done, you just scan the number on the top right of your plate’s front.  
  • Then enter the email address you used to buy your RPlate. 
  • Next, to set up your RPlate, use the app’s instructions. You only need your most recent registration card and a photo of your license plate. 
  • Finally, install your RPlate hardware. But you must do that only after you get confirmation that your plate is activated. The DMV usually approves this in one to three days. 

How much does a digital license plate cost? 

How much you pay for your plate depends on several things. Both the battery-powered and wired version starts at $19.95/month for 48 months or $215.40 for four years. 

Installation costs depend on the option you choose. For example, if you choose the battery-powered option, it won’t cost you more because you’ll be putting it in yourself. However, having a professional install the plate so that it works with your car’s electrical system costs $99. 

Then there’s the subscription cost – $19.95/per month for the battery version, and $24.95 a month for the wired.

Should you get a digital license plate? 

Digital plates have several innovative features that can help you save time and make your life easier. That’s because the screen can be personalized to do more than just show the plate number. For example, you can use an app to replace your registration stickers instead of dealing with the DMV. Your automobile can even flash “Stolen Vehicle” or “SNDHLP!” if someone steals it.  

It can help you keep track of your young driver and also display Amber alerts. When parked, it can serve as a moving billboard. It is also compatible with RFID-based toll payment systems like FasTrak and E-Z Pass. 

The only downside we see is the lack of options (currently, only one company makes them) and the costs. So if you don’t mind shelling out a bit of money to make your life easier, go for it!  

If your license plate is digital, shouldn’t your insurance be too?  

While upgrading your license plate, don’t forget to make sure your car has all the necessary auto insurance coverage. Use Way.com’s AI-powered engine to get free quotes from 200+ insurance providers and choose what suits you the best. You’ll get a digital insurance card to keep up with your tech-savvy plates. You don’t have to carry your physical insurance card around with you anymore! 

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