If anything they would have an RFID tag that could be scanned, why a bar-code? Why even a plate, why not an electronic transmitter that is always emitting a beacon signal so law enforcement could find a vehicle anywhere in an area of say 1500 FT? like WiFi networks? Much more efficient no?
An officer could be driving around on regular patrol or conducting Radar speed monitoring and see anyone with expired plates, invalid insurance and/or stolen vehicles with a message popping up on their screen using an antenna sniffing the signal beacons in the areas.
Too big brother I guess...
They already have systems with optical character recognition that can read a normal license plate and look them up in a database (for being stolen, warrants, insurance expired, etc.)
The town I live in has that system in some (all?) of their patrol cars. I have read that they scoop up a fair number of wanted people with it. Speeds up ordinary traffic stops too, the plate is run on a car before they stop it.
Total nerd's speculation...
I suppose they could require a standard transponder ID on the vehicle. It would be tuned to the, say, Ka band radar frequency. When hit by traffic radar, it reflects with a message of its ID.
When a cop runs his radar unit, instead of displaying Fastest or Strongest, it displays a list of the speeds, and their associated IDs, for all vehicles in the radar beam. No more taking the blame of some other speeder in your lane.
IIRC 18 wheelers have a transponder system that lets them skip weigh station checks. I see these giant "stinger" antennae pointing at the travel lanes adjacent to said stops.
I can rapid renew my plates-- and there's no bar code on 'em.
Switching plates to bar code only would inhibit passerby civilians from reporting crimes. The optical recognition works, as stated above, though IMO it leads to lazy policing.
NY state has barcodes on the registration and registration sticker, inspection sticker, and your insurance cards. And if you have an EZ-Pass, that's linked to your credit card and your car. They know which EZ-Pass users are on the toll roads, and their average speed. There was even talk of issuing speeding tickets to EZ-Pass users whose average speed was well over the posted speed limit.
They don't need new plates, they already know where our cars, and most of the time their owners, are.