Rhode Island has created a special license plate for plug-in vehicles – not just so charged drivers can show how cool they are, but in order to save lives.
The point is to give emergency crew members a warning when they encounter an EV, so that they don’t electrocute themselves while using the jaws of life to extricate passengers from wreckage.
“It’s so they can quickly identify the vehicle has a high-voltage line running along the bottom of the car,” explained North Smithfield Town Planner Robert Ericson (via The Valley Breeze), who prompted State Senator Edward O’Neill to sponsor the legislation that created the new plates.
“It is not very well-known that rescue workers can get electrocuted from using jaws of life on an electric vehicle, but when that information came to light I wanted us to be proactive about the issue,” said O’Neill. “Our police, fire and rescue workers, along with tow truck operators, sometimes get to a scene of an accident and don’t know whether they’re dealing with an electric or hybrid vehicle. The legislation allows first responders to determine what instrument is appropriate to use for the rescue of those trapped inside electric vehicles quickly, simply by looking at the license plate.”
The plate will have the words “Electric/Hybrid” below the plate number, where the words “Ocean State” normally appear. It will be available at no additional cost upon first registration of an electric or hybrid vehicle, starting this fall. Those switching from an existing plate will be charged $21.50.