State switches color of text on bridge plate

Posted at 5:18 PM, Oct 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-09 17:18:13-04

MICHIGAN – The State of Michigan has made a change to a popular license plate just one year after it hit the streets.

The Secretary of State began offering the Mackinac Bridge plate with white text back in August 2013. One year later, it was discontinued, over safety concerns.

“When you go home from work tonight, if you drive in low-light conditions and you look at those older, white-lettered Mackinac (Bridge) plates from a distance it’s very difficult to make out the letters and numbers,” said Sgt. Larry Poleski, with the Grand Rapids Police Dept.WHITE TEXT PLATE

Sgt. Poleski says it doesn’t get any easier when it’s raining or snowing.

“What the plate reader does is reads a plate, comes up with its rendition of what it understands that plate to be,” Poleski said. “Obviously, you have to confirm if it gets a hit that that information is accurate.”

That’s where the human element comes into play when Poleski teaches other officers about the department license plate reading technology.

As sergeant Poleski explains, the clarity is important for purposes beyond just law enforcement.

“That’s beneficial for citizens, too,” Poleski explained. “They may be the victim of a crime, or witness something in progress, and they see a car driving away.”

Poleski says if the plate is difficult to read, it will be difficult for witnesses to crimes to give police accurate information.

FOX 17 reached out to the SOS, which says there are 215,000 Mackinac Bridge plates. Each cost an extra $5, but the state isn’t forcing anyone to replace their old plate with the white text to the new plates with the black text.