Samples of four possible designs for new Florida license plates
(News-Press) -- Monday is the first day Florida drivers are able to cast their votes online for the new design of Florida's soon-to-be changed vehicle license plate.
The state is making the switch from the standard green and white plate with raised lettering and an orange in the middle after about 30 years to one of four possible new designs.
All of the designs have a white background and flat black lettering and will incorporate an orange.
Besides the flat lettering, the differences between plate designs are the placement of the orange on the plate and the incorporation of light or dark green bands on the top or top and bottom of the plate. The plates will be made from a new aluminum composite and will have and invisible watermark to assist in identification.
The state Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles has launched http://www.vote4floridatag.com/ where residents can cast votes for their favorite design through Dec. 14.
The change is expected to take two years to implement, and plates could be on vehicles across the state by January 2014.
Fort Myers residents Cassy Cimato and Sam Faust were at the Lee County Tax Office Monday and said they would vote for the plate with the green bands on the top and bottom.
"It's more colorful," Cimato said, adding she's OK with the change if it helps make the plates more readable. "It stands out more."
Faust said he likes Florida's plates the way they are and caused the four choices "plain by comparison." He said the new plates should keep Florida's silhouette on the plates to keep them more recognizable.
Harry Summerlin, also of Fort Myers, said he preferred the plate with the green bands on the top and bottom as well, but he said he's more concerned about the "freaky cameras" at intersections that don't work properly.
"You go through a green light, and then they have you going down to the courthouse with a ticket," he said, referring to a personal experience. "I want to see them get the lights working right."
The change is estimated to cost $31 million, but it could save Florida up to $7 million a year, because of readability problems with the current plates by red-light cameras, cameras at toll booths and law enforcement officers.
On the current plates, characters such as V and Y, B and 8, 5 and S and Q and O get mixed up.
The new flat plates will cost about $2.20 per tag compare to $1.72 per tag for the current plates.