The 1993 transport management law did not even consider digital plates a possibility, though it is estimated 90 per cent of vehicles have already made the switch. Previously, there was no objection from the authorites, and even the traffic police flashed new digital number plates on their vehicles.
Drivers complain that the very idea of trying to reverse this trend for so many vehicles is foolish. But police spokesperson SP Jagat Man Shrestha defends the decision, saying, "We are trying to implement the law. These number plates reflect light, so it is hard to read them."
In reality, digital number plates appear easier to read than painted plates, day or night. But even if what the police claim is true, it's time they introduced new technology to monitor vehicles. Govinda Kusum, secretary at the Home Ministry, has a digital number plate – Ba 7 Cha 2316 – on his vehicle. The majority of government and police vehicles, including those in the traffic police headquarters, have digital number plates. But the traffic police have been instructed to confiscate the licenses of drivers with digital plates. No wonder that vehicle owners were caught by surprise when, without issuing a public notice, traffic police started fining them for installing digital number plates.