A place to glow: Concerns raised over problems reading new licence plates at night

New design causes problems in 'well-lit parking lot'

New Plates
Drivers are starting to ditch the old plates with the new ones, since it was rolled out in February Jayson Dimaano/Toronto Observer

Some drivers have trouble seeing at night. Ontario’s new licence plates won’t help their case.

They also have people feeling mixed emotions. They either love it or hate it.

The Ontario Government ditched the white background with blue characters to a blue background with white characters, as well as changing the slogan from “Yours To Discover” to “A Place To Grow” and “Open For Business” on commercial vehicles. The plates were available at the beginning of February.

Not even a month since the plates were out, there have been problems regarding seeing the plates at night. Apparently, the plates glow when light is shone on them, making them hard to read. Kingston Police Sgt. Steve Koopman first tweeted about the issue while he was off-duty in a “well lit parking lot with (his) headlights on.”

Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson said to reporters at Queen’s Park on Feb. 18 the plates have gone through “rigorous testing” to ensure they were “durable and absolutely reflecting the key information that people need to be seeing.”

Plate reading is difficult at night, as the characters glow

Rima Berns-McGown, NDP MPP for Beaches-East York, is not happy with how the plates were rolled out to the public and how the Doug Ford government tried to cover it up.

“They went full force ahead without doing their homework,” she said. “It backfired and their initial thing was to deny they had a problem. When the minister claimed these were Liberal plates, they were in fact Bill Davis’s plates.”

Berns-McGown charged that the Ontario PCs made the change without consultation or looking at the evidence and that led them to initially denying any faults.

A day after defending the plates, the government admitted there was a problem with them after all. It has sparked concerns from groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

“The night-time visibility issues with the new licence plates being reported by police and the public is a very serious concern,” MADD said in a Feb. 19 press release. “The ability to clearly see the licence plates is obviously crucial if people need to call police to report suspected impaired drivers, or other dangerous drivers. MADD Canada joins those asking the Government of Ontario to review the visibility of these new plates at night.”

Since then, the government has been working on a solution to fix the issue regarding night visibility.

They are re-issuing the old white-on-blue plates to drivers until about mid-March when an improved version of the plates is expected to be delivered.

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Posted: Feb 25 2020 5:37 pm
Filed under: News