the DGT confirms that “they are not” on your table

It was the year 1900 when, in Spain, the first car was registered: more than a hundred years later (specifically 122), the ‘DNI’ of our vehicles has hardly changed. Over time, its design has changed, but it has always been made up of letters and numbers. What will happen when this format comes to an end? Forecasts suggest that this will happen in more than 30 years and then we will have to see what scenario we find ourselves in. One thing is for sure: Today, QR license plates “are not on the table of the DGT”. This has been confirmed to us from Traffic.

Last September, the registration number 9999 LZZ was changed to 0000 MBB. A normal movement in the chronological order followed, but special: with this change the halfway point of this format was reached (four figures and three consonants). The forecasts were not long in coming: if it has taken 22 years, everything indicates that we will see the license plate 9999 ZZZ in 2053. What will happen then?

“It is not an urgent matter”

The mail pointed out that the General Directorate of Traffic had already got down to work investigating the formulas adapted in countries such as Germany, France, Italy and China. They also pointed out that the relay could be taken by a personalized license plate or one made up of a physical plate equipped with a microchip or a QR code: In this way, in addition to the current data (validity of the compulsory insurance and the ITV) it could include additional information such as the date of registration, the environmental label, number of claims…

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At Diariomotor we have contacted the General Directorate of Traffic to ask them about license plates with a QR code and from the Press they have confirmed to us that “they are not on the table of the DGT. Colpisa made a topic about where the future could go, but from our side there is nothing. Who knows if in 30 years QR codes will still exist or if we will have flying cars on the streets”. They add that, for now, it is not an “urgent” issue for Traffic, although they acknowledge that they have taken a look at the formats and options that exist in other countries.

European license plate regulations

Changing license plates is not easy and it is not an exclusive matter of the DGT: Brussels has a say in this matter. Cars registered in Spain follow the common format of the European Union, that is, a metal or methacrylate plate that, on the far left, has a blue band (known as the Euroband) with the circle of stars of the European flag and the country code: in our case, E.

This was established by the Regulation Council (EC) No. 2411/98 of November 3, 1998. This format, in addition, meets the requirements of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic: vehicles crossing a border must display the distinguishing code of the country they come from on the back of the vehicle.

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Older models do not have a Euroband and, instead, have an oval-shaped sticker outside of the license plate or included on the plate itself. This model, adopted in 2000, is inspired by the one used by Ireland (1991), Portugal (1992) and Germany (1994) and measures 520 x 110mm or 520 x 120mm, although some states use other measures.

Spanish license plates

As we pointed out before, license plates arrived in Spain in 1900 and since then little has changed: national vehicles have always had white plates with black numbers. So far, we have had three different formats:

  • Numeric Provincial (1900-1971): consisting of up to six figures accompanied by one, two or three letters.
  • Alphanumeric Provincial (1971-2000): four figures accompanied by two initial letters (those that indicated the province where the vehicle had been registered) and a final one, which, later, were two when the 9999 Z was reached.
  • National Alphanumeric (2000-Present): four figures and three consonants because the vowels are excluded. It is the current format and allows up to 80 million different license plates.

Personalized license plates in Spain

In Spain, each license plate is associated with the vehicle and is non-transferable: personalized ones have never been allowed. At the time, our colleague Sergio spoke to us first-hand about the existing format in the United States (there for 150-200 euros they can be customized to suit the driver) and asked a question: would they be a good idea in Spain?

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Although it would require some adaptation by public administrations and traffic computer systems, the truth is that it does. The license plate personalization operations would be taxed by Treasury, that is, the public coffers would obtain income with each one of them and all the transactions would be registered in Traffic, thus allowing traceability of the age and number of owners of the vehicle.

digital license plates

The latest novelty regarding license plates is digital although, for now, they are only legal in the US: they are made up of a monochrome screen with electronic ink (like the one in eBooks) shapes the license plate. When the vehicle is in motion, it is the only thing that is displayed: only when it is parked is it possible to customize the message.

They are protected by a surface that is six times more resistant than conventional glass: it resists, without problem, impacts of various kinds and inclement weather. Its battery has an estimated duration of about five years, They also have a geolocation system and have a constant (and encrypted) connection to the cloud.

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