Fla. license plates could get makeover

Officals say numbers, letters can be hard to read at toll booths, on traffic cameras

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida license plates could soon get a makeover. The state is considering a new license plate that would be easier for law enforcement to read.

Right now, one in six images is declared unreadable at toll booths and on traffic cameras. That alone costs the state $7 million a year.

"For example, the 'Q' may look like a zero, and the '5' may look like an 'S,' or the 'K' might look like an 'X' from a distance," said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Dylan Bryan.

Bryan points to just one of a number of challenges law enforcement officials encounter while reading Florida license plates.

But if Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet approve, the new seven-digit plates with bold black lettering will replace the old ones with only six digits.

"The condition of the tag makes it hard to read," Bryan said. "Weather conditions and the position of the vehicle on the tag itself."

State highway officials say Florida's new license plates would be phased in over two years on Florida's 15 million vehicles.

The redesigned plates would cost the state $31 million, but they would make it easier for traffic cameras and police officers to identify and fine violators.

County names will disappear altogether on the new plates and will be replaced with the motto "Sunshine State" or "In God We Trust."

The plates' lettering would be flat and not raised at all, with seven bold, black letters on a white background.

"The current registration plate was introduced in 2003," Bryan said. "So the ones we use are running out of license plate configuration. This would allow additional configurations to be implemented."

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