Ontario’s New License Plates: You Can’t Read Them (Learn More, Video)

"Did anyone consult with police before designing and manufacturing the new Ontario licence plates? They're virtually unreadable at night." Tweeted Sgt Steve Koopman in Kingston, Ont. (Courtesy of Sgt Koopman and Twitter)

February 18, 2020 – In Breaking News – NPR

Ontario’s newly-designed license plates just hit a speedbump. Call it Plate-gate.

A little background: The Canadian province’s new design was unveiled by the provincial government — led by center-right Ontario Premier Doug Ford — last year.

Almost immediately, people started comparing the plate design unfavorably to a box of Q-tips.

The plates also had a new slogan – “A Place to Grow” – which drew the ire of some critics, who preferred the previous “Yours to Discover,” which the plates had sported since 1982.

Then there was the palette: Observers noticed that the new plates had the same blue color scheme as Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party.

But the real problems began once the plates went into use this month.

“Has anyone else noticed that the newly designed @ONgov license plates are totally unreadable from distance at night?” tweeted videojournalist Andrew Collins on Friday.

“Could be an issue for [Toronto] police forces in the future.”

(The Ontario government is fielding multiple complaints about the visibility of new license plates — especially at night. Courtesy of CBC News: The National and YouTube. Posted on Feb 18, 2020.)

A Twitter user who describes himself as a police sergeant in Kingston, Ont., tweeted another photo with the same complaint the next day:

“Did anyone consult with police before designing and manufacturing the new Ontario licence plates? They’re virtually unreadable at night.”

It appears the new plate design is struggling with its most important job: clarity.

“It’s crazy, right? It’s unbelievable,” says Collins, the videojournalist.

“If citizens can’t read them and call in impaired drivers and traffic complaints, a police officer is certainly not going to be able to read them in a chase situation,” he posits.

Journalists at Toronto’s CTV network wanted to see if they could recreate the problem, so they shined a light on the new and old plates while slowly moving away.

In their video, the old plate remains plainly legible, while the letters on the new one quickly disappear into a blaze of white.

Unsurprisingly, police chiefs in the province are concerned.

Continue reading… Ontario’s New License Plates Have A Problem: You Can’t Read Them

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