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State investigation: License plate readers may not recognize new Tennessee tags, new plates still being produced

The plates reportedly can't be seen by some plate recognition cameras, the state is investigating why; they tell ABC24 they have not stopped producing the new plates
Credit: Tennessee Governor's Office

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Those brand-new blue Tennessee license plates may have a big flaw.

The plates reportedly can't be seen by some plate recognition cameras, and the Tennessee Department of Revenue is investigating why not.

In a statement, the department said, "We are aware of this issue, and we are engaging in conversations with our partners at the Tennessee Department of Safety to more fully understand it. It would be premature to discuss any further actions we may take until we fully vet the concerns raised.

To date, we've issued roughly 400,000 plates, and we expect to replace approximately 5.5 million plates by the end of the year."

A department spokesperson told ABC 24 they have not stopped producing new license plates and that reports indicating otherwise are incorrect. 

They also said that drivers should continue to renew their registration and receive their new plate in the month of renewal. 

The department added, "Both the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Department of Revenue are evaluating claims regarding how new plates interact with license plate readers at night. Until this evaluation is complete, there will be no changes to the production or renewal process."

We reached out to area law enforcement, and Bartlett Police responded, saying: “At this time we are aware of the possible problems with the tag readers. We are currently in the process of verifying these concerns.”

Law enforcement has come to rely on being able to quickly read plates with special cameras, which helps them catch everyone from speeders to criminals. The cameras are both stationary and on some patrol cars.

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