defensive

The debate on whether a vehicle should have a front license plate has failed to come to a solid conclusion. People living in states that require a front license plate only seem to be content with the law. However, as your defensive driving course declares, a study by Texas A&M done in 2012 showed that there are several pros of having two tags as opposed to having front car tags alone. Those in favor of the law assert that a front plate for car decreases its aesthetic appeal while reducing the cost of having an additional plate.

One Plate Is Enough

It would seem rather obvious that drivers look after their road safety. But the issue of safety is not top on the list when a person wants the finely crafted nose of their car to be unobstructed. When a car is a vintage or a classy piece of art, a driver will most times prefer not to have a front license plate. Some sophisticated cars such as the Lotus do not have the capability to mount a plate on the front side. It will, therefore, come as no surprise that such car models will be common in states such as Florida; a Florida front license plate is exempted by law. Other models such as the Chevrolet 2014 Corvette has a front plate bracket that is removable hence, a driver can obey all state license plates laws at all times.

Double Check That

A quick license plate lookup by state shows that only 19 states allow for vehicles to have a single rear plate while in states such as California, a license plate is mandatory both in the front and rear. A vehicle that has a second plate makes it easy for traffic cameras to take photographs of those running red lights and stop signs. The photographs also enable authorities to capture toll pay defectors and those who drive off unattended parking lots and pay garages. In addition, license plate automatic readers linked to databases enable the task of electronically tracking of scofflaws to be simple.

The states that enforce the front license plate law, California, New York, and 29 others (see full list below), are receiving a very large revenue due to the ticket fines collected those violating the law.
A vehicle can easily drive away scot-free in toll stations where having only one plate is state law, even as the rear plates become unreadable. License plate readers also make it easy to locate cars that have been stolen. Police use the technology to compare plate numbers with ‘hot list’ databases of stolen cars. Witnesses also have a higher chance of identifying suspicious crime-oriented vehicles when such vehicles bear duo plates.

Despite these benefits of duo plates, legislature has attempted to reverse Texas front license plate law to no avail. However, the Ohio front license plate law is still a pending issue in the state’s general assembly. The front license plate law in California is in full effect. The states whose proposals to change to single plate are driven by the argument, “One plate costs less than two.” A counter argument can be brought up however, that a vehicle owner is required to replace a license plate after five years. Therefore, the cost spread over a five period is too low to be considered a liability to vehicle owners.

The Verdict

In conclusion, adding a license plate or having a single rear license plate are campaigns that may never end. The bottom line is that states rarely alter their license plate laws. It is likely a state such as NY front license plate may never be changed to a rear-plate-only requirement. This is because the State is populous with high vehicle traffic volumes that necessitate the use of license plate reader technology. In less dense States, the singular rear plates may not be a hindrance to enforcement of traffic law and order.

States That Require Front License Plates

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming