Recently Ontario announced it was considering getting rid of front licence plates as a cost-cutting measure, but the province’s police chiefs are concerned that the move could end up jeopardizing public safety.
In media reports, Jeff McGuire, executive director of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, voiced opposition to the move saying: “If you eliminate half the licence plates in the province, you’ll eliminate half the opportunities for us to be able to identify people involved in crime.”
McGuire said two plates help solve violent crimes, amber alerts, hit and runs, and even assist in counter-terrorism as police collect video evidence from a variety of sources, including storefronts, home security videos and dashboard cameras.
Ontario is one of the few provinces in Canada that mandates two plates, along with British Columbia and Manitoba.
New Brunswick recently scrapped the requirement in its budget, and the chiefs of police in that province also raised concerns.
In the U.S., 19 states require one licence plate, while 31 and Washington D.C. require two. Violating licence laws can result in a traffic ticket.
A Texas A&M Transportation Institute study determined that front plates improve readability rates, and not having a front license plate hampered homeland security efforts. In a summary of the study results, it was noted that: When parked, two-plate vehicles had a better license plate read rate than one-plate vehicles, 97 percent read rate for two-plate states versus 76 percent in one-plate states. When moving, two-plate states (Maryland and Texas) had a read rate of 89%, and for one-plate states (Pennsylvania and Arizona) it was 22% and 58% on roadways connecting Maryland and Pennsylvania.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that the number of plates not read (excluded) on vehicles without two plates was 6% across the northern border and 3.4% across the southern border, noting that the difference between international borders is the presence of dual plate states between the U.S. and Mexico.
There is sure to be lively debate on the issue in the weeks and months to come. -CINEWS