Ontario has come out with a new licence plate that is being criticized by many on social media as the plate is virtually unreadable at night. Many have been posting pictures and videos of the plates at night showing only a blue rectangle with illegible letters and numbers on it when light shines on them.
The new design is supposed to be on the road on Feb. 1. The plates are blue and have white letters and numbers across them.
Sgt. Steve Koopman of the Kingston police took a photo of a car with the new plate and posted it to social media with the caption: “Did anyone consult with police before designing and manufacturing the new Ontario licence plates? They’re virtually unreadable at night.”
Another officer for the OPP, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, disagreed noting that he was monitoring Highway 401 on Tuesday and said that he can see the plates during the day as well as the middle of the night, CBC reported.
“They’re something to get used to. I haven’t had any problems,” said Officer Schmidt.
He also mentioned that the old plates could be hard to read when the blue chipped off over the white background.
A Minister of Government and Consumer Service spokesperson emailed CBC saying: “We have been made aware that some Ontarians are reporting concerns with readability to the naked eye under certain light conditions. We take this feedback seriously, value the input of Ontario drivers and law enforcement stakeholders and are currently looking into this.”
The government said that before they went through with the new plates they talked to “key stakeholders, including our law enforcement partners, to test the readability, reflectivity and functionality of the new high-definition plates.”
Ontario Safety League president Brian Patterson said that being able to read the plate at night should be a basic requirement. He added that he was unable to see the plates in clear daylight sometimes.
“You have to be fairly close to read them with precision,” he said. “If you’re calling in an impaired driver you want to make sure you give the licence plate correctly… [this] multiplies the complexity of doing that and it may discourage people from reporting [drunk drivers] to police.”
Ontario Liberal Party Interim Leader John Fraser said that the new change was “a poorly thought out decision, done too quickly.”