Tattletale License Plates for Convicted Offenders
Currently there are several states that use tattletale license plates. Tattletale license plates are specialized license plates that alert other drivers that you have been convicted of drunk driving, or were driving with special circumstances. These license plates have been met with several different responses, both positive and negative. Some believe these license plates benefit the public because it can alert other drivers of certain circumstances, such as a driver who has driven under the influence before. Meanwhile, others believe these license plates border on being an invasion of privacy, leading other drivers to judge them based on the color of their license plate.
In the state of Ohio special license plates are issued to those cars that have been impounded following a driving under the influence charge for the driver. These licenses are issued in red and yellow colors and became mandatory in 2004. The different color license plates alert other drivers on the road that this is a potentially dangerous driver, who has driven drunk in the past. In theory, these license plates would also encourage drivers to call authorities, should they see anything that leads them to believe that the driver may be driving under the influence again. Georgia and Minnesota have similar laws in place, which alerts other drivers of a potentially dangerous driver.
Studies have shown that a majority of the population agrees with these tattletale license plates to in regards to the age of the driver. Many drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 believe we should alert other drivers of new, young drivers, as well as elderly drivers. When it comes to alerting the public about drunk drivers, the general public are not as quick to support these plates. There are only four states that utilize these tattletale license plates, and only the three mentioned above use them for DUI offenders. New Jersey uses the tattletale plates to alert other drivers of new and young drivers.
Several other states have tried to implement tattletale plates, but have failed miserably at it. Oregon, for instance, tried to install a system that would force drunk driving offenders to place a sticker on their license plates. The issue with this was drivers began to peel the stickers off to combat the spotlight. In total, there are nine states that have tried to set dangerous drivers apart, but there have been several failures.
There are plenty of arguments both for and against tattletale license plates, and instances where the system has both achieved and failed. Alerting drivers that there is a potential driving hazard allows them to be proactive in protecting themselves. On the other hand, these drivers could be unfairly profiled against because they have a license plate that says at one point they made some poor choices. It is a controversial topic that has divided the population. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has stayed quiet on this front, choosing instead to support DUI checkpoints and ignition interlock devices. It is unknown how effective tattletale license plates have been in preventing drunk driving because there are so few states that have a system for it.