Both children and adults would be able to more easily recognize and remember symbols.
Children learn symbols before they can read or write. Cognitive studies show that a child as young as 2 ½ years old can re-call a symbol, even a week later. This is before they ever learn to read or write numbers and letters.
Even adults are challenged to remember random numbers and letters. In fact, most people who were surveyed did not know the license plate registration number on their own vehicle, which they use every day. Universal symbols are recognizable by people of all ages, languages, nationalities and cultures.
Using symbols would drastically increase the probability of identifying a vehicle By only identfying the color/style of the vehicle, the symbol/location, and one other character on the license plate, that amount of information would generally reduce the search to about 1 in 12 vehicles as opposed to 1 in 12,000 vehicles (with the current MA system).
With the 4-Character Format, or the Double Character Format (DCF) the search for the suspect vehicle is dramatically reduced, and the driver could be identified in a matter of minutes.. Current six and seven character systems only narrow the vehicle search to approximately one in 43,000 for six character systems and one in 150,000 for seven character systems. Furthermore, with fewer characters than the current six or seven character systems, there would be more room to make the characters larger, making them easier to see from further distances.
We already use symbols to easily identify signs on the roads and in every day life. Why not use them on license plates, too?
Look at how symbols are used on the roads to identify something quickly and from a distance, such as for fuel, food, lodging, hospitals, airports, etc. Studies show that it takes about seven seconds to read an Amber Alert sign, which is a challenge while driving, and even more challenging to remember. Posting vehicle identification information, plus symbol information would allow people with cell phones to respond more quickly.