For beginners, the Smart Number Plates use the FE-Schrift typeface, which is a sans serif typeface introduced in the late 1970s for use on license plates.
Its monospaced letters and numbers are slightly disproportionate to prevent easy modification and to improve machine readability.
Additionally, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) says the new smart number plates will incorporate microchip technology and several anti-counterfeit security features that will render them practically impossible to imitate.
Besides the unique template, the new plates have a specially-imprinted national flag, a hologram imprinted on it, and a watermark.
They will also have unique and different serial numbers – for both the rear and front plates – that is linked to the vehicle’s chassis number.
The smart plates are easily identifiable to law enforcement officers and will also store key motor vehicle information such as year of manufacturer, type and color of vehicle, engine number, transmission type, date and place of manufacture, and insurance details.
According to Matangi, this will nab criminals who have been swapping registration plates to carry out their activities without being caught.
“Criminals have been driving cars around with smart number plates that were initially issued to tractors. There are many bankers that have been left holding logbooks registered in a fraudulent manner since they cannot trace the vehicles used as collateral,” he said.
Once a vehicle is imported into the country, it will be fixed with the plates at the point of entry, where information about it will be synchronized with NTSA and Kenya Revenue Authority systems to curb tax evasion in the car import business.
Matiangi said the chain of registration will require building a database of all the vehicles registered right at the point of entry and linking the databases of the NTSA and the National Police Service to make it difficult to trade in motor vehicles that are stolen from other countries.
The government plans to phase out the old generation plates in the next 18 months, and Kenyans will be required to pay Ksh.3,000 to get the new smart number plates.