Drive LA Recovers Stolen Vehicle with Digital License Plate Tech

August 18, 2023

Drive LA’s Wired Digital License Plate Deployment

Beyond the clearest benefits of the wired digital license plates for fleet vehicles — prominently including the ease and efficiency they bring to registration and renewal — there are extra, potentially unexpected advantages. These include the ability to effectively track down vehicles that have gone missing or been stolen, and to alert the authorities.

The tracking and recovery capabilities of Reviver’s wired digital license plates received a real-world tryout when a California-based rental car company managed to find one of its vehicles following a theft. Drive LA is a luxury car rental business founded in 2016. From its beginnings as a side project for its founder, the company has expanded and now operates over 70 top-of-the-line vehicles rented to high-profile clients in Los Angeles. In 2020, Drive LA began outfitting its vehicles with wired digital license plates from Reviver. Approximately 60 of the cars now have these devices in place of standard metal license plates. The wired digital plates allow the company to market itself using their custom display capabilities, and they also include important flows of digital data — for instance, offering a warning if someone tampers with the plate.

Theft Recovery Features in Action

The digital functionality of the license plates proved critical after one of Drive LA’s vehicles was stolen. The incident began with a seemingly normal rental. However, soon after the driver left with the car, there was a chargeback on the credit card they’d used. This revealed that all of the information on file with Drive LA was fraudulent.

The car rental agency filed a report with the police noting that the vehicle was stolen. The thief was on the run at this point, removing tracking devices from the car. However, this didn’t include the wired digital license plate. Even if they had tampered with the plate, it would have sent an alert, and detaching the wires would make the plate display a DETACHED message.

Using the tracking data from the license plate’s integrated transceiver, Drive LA personnel were able to keep an eye on its location. They then worked with authorities and Reviver customer support and activated the plate’s messaging capabilities and changed it to say “STOLEN”. This feature is only available after a police report has been filed, to make sure it’s not switched on by mistake.

With that message clearly visible, drivers called 911 and stated that they were in traffic with a stolen car. The police then took over — officers followed the vehicle and forced it to pull over. Drive LA recovered its car in a remarkably short period of time, thanks to the digital license plates.

Digital License Plates for Your Fleet

The same features that allowed Drive LA to take such swift, effective action are standard on wired digital license plates, and can help your fleet in the same way. Those theft recovery capabilities come along with easy registration and renewal, custom messaging, geo-fencing and much more. In four states and counting, commercial operators can switch to wired digital license plates now.