Are Digital License Plates Legal in Your State? Tracking the Digital Plate Roll-Out

May 29, 2024

Digital license plates have arrived. This is a big deal for drivers for one very important reason: Over the past 100 years, the license plate has remained essentially the same while every other car component has evolved endlessly.

In a select but ever-expanding list of states, digital license plates are getting onto cars and out on the road. This is a moment worth celebrating, as the new high-tech plates provide advantages including:

  • Customization to suit drivers’ personal style.
  • Easy, time-saving registration processes.
  • Other advanced capabilities include theft recovery.

If you live in one of the states that have yet to complete legislation to allow digital plates, it’s natural to wonder when your area will adopt the digital license plate. That depends on the progress of bills through each state’s legislature. With efforts underway in multiple states at once, it seems likely that digital plates will soon reach a significant audience.

Where Are Digital License Plates Legal?

When discussing the state-by-state roll-out of digital license plates, it’s worth explaining that once a car has a digital license plate, driving anywhere in North America is legal. They’re accepted even in U.S. states that don’t yet allow drivers to purchase digital plates.

But which states do allow drivers to purchase digital license plates? Today, the list consists of:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Michigan.
  • Texas (Commercial vehicles only).

Each state went through its own approval process, with the state DMVs and legislatures having their say, potentially running pilot programs and then allowing the plates.

Both individual drivers and commercial fleet owners have already felt the benefits of going digital in these states. Seeing digital plates on the road is now normal, with customized looks and personalized messages adorning the high-tech devices.

Keep up with the progress of the digital plate roll-out.

Which States Are Next for Digital License Plates?

The same efforts that brought digital license plates to cars across four states are playing out elsewhere. Every state is in a different place in the process—some have bills in progress in one of the state government’s houses. Others have already finalized the proposed law’s language, moving it on for debate and consideration.

Some of the states with legalization efforts underway at the moment include:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

The differing timelines between these states aren’t just a matter of which legislature started working on a digital license plate bill first. The processes and practices behind turning bills into laws differ from state to state. What kinds of local factors can affect the process?

  • In some states, the government has on years and off years, which limits the schedule on which new legislation can be introduced or signed into law.
  • Significant events like natural disasters can interrupt the state government’s schedule as recovery efforts and investigations take precedence.
  • Lawmakers will sometimes call for pilot programs or trial periods before approving new policies at the RMV and related agencies.

Each state currently considering digital license plate adoption is taking its own approach. In Colorado and Georgia, for instance, the bills have moved to the rules and regulations step, with new procedures being debated before digital license plates receive final approval.

Digital license plate legislation passed in Illinois just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the disruption of that global event and a change of administration in the secretary of state’s office, it can now get back underway. Washington and Pennsylvania both require pilot programs, which will provide lawmakers with the information they need to give the go-ahead for widespread adoption.

Each state that legalizes digital license plates sets a precedent for those that will follow, which means the years ahead could bring a wave of new approvals.

What’s the Process for Expanding Digital License Plate Use?

Getting digital license plate legalization from the idea stage into reality is a collaborative process. In state government, industry, and beyond, groups and stakeholders work together to ensure drivers can access this technology as soon as possible.

These important contributors include:

  • DMV leadership
  • State and local police departments
  • State senators and representatives
  • Governors and their offices
  • Original equipment manufacturers
  • Tech industry insiders

When some or all of these groups can come together in person to discuss the state of legalization, the conditions are perfect for productive discussions. Everyone can see the advantages — creating a smoother registration and driving experience benefits DMVs, police, and individual car owners alike.

Industry conventions convened by DMVs are some of the best times to advance digital license plate legislation in an increasing number of states. When stakeholders meet at these gatherings, the enthusiasm for digital plate legalization is infectious.

After those initial discussions, the next steps depend on the state in question. Sometimes, legalization begins with a bill authored and sponsored in one of the state government’s houses. In other cases, it’s possible to make a change without a bill, in which case the state might move straight into the live-vehicle pilot project phase.

The results of several years of behind-the-scenes work pay off, and drivers can register their new digital license plates.

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Digital License Plate Expansion

Throughout the digital license plate legalization process, from the initial concept through the first four state approvals and the wave of legislation underway elsewhere, Reviver has stood at the forefront of the industry. Our technology, RPLATE, is the industry standard, and we’re spearheading efforts to make digital license plates available in as many states as possible.

Acceptance of digital license plates is picking up, and not just in the halls of government. With Ford adding RPLATE to its optional equipment catalog, it’s clear that carmakers see the technology’s potential power. Drivers and fleet owners across four states have already seen how easy and enjoyable it is to replace an old-fashioned license plate with a cutting-edge digital device. Very soon, that experience could spread.

Stay tuned to Reviver’s site and social media channels to track the legalization process and see when the technology will be available in your state. Or, if you’re in one of the states where the plates are already available, you can get going immediately. Being part of the next big evolution in motor vehicle technology is exciting, so don’t miss your chance.
Get started with RPLATE, the leading digital license plate provider.