Front License Plate States

Does your state/province require front plates?

  • Yes

    Votes: 32 57.1%
  • No

    Votes: 24 42.9%
  • I don't know.... Derp 🤪

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    56

Disco47

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I have never lived anywhere that requires front plates. Thankfully

There's no states in the extreme southeast that require front plates. Texas and Virginia are the closest two plate states that I know of. I'm just curious, is the front plate requirement enforced in those other areas?

On the F150 the front plate covers most of the intercooler, but thankfully the holder pops right off. It came off my truck the first day and is now collecting dust in my closet.
 

Deacon

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If you run without a front plate in Texas, you’re probably going to get pulled over for it before too long, though there are a handful that claim they’ve been able to dodge it for years at a time. And you’re definitely going to need it in place to pass your annual inspection.

Not too long ago (within the last 20 years anyway) there’s was serious momentum in Texas behind the idea of essentially cutting the cost of license plates in half by no longer requiring the front plate that nobody really wants. From what I understand, people with ALPRs managed to lobby the state to keep the requirement. It’s dumb and annoying, but you either eat the tickets or put it on.
 

sdrawkcaB

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This isn't a matter of polling for opinion with yet another poll, but simply a matter of fact. States do or don't require it. If they actively enforce it or not, and how heavily they do, is another matter.

The 30 states that require a front license plate by law:

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

Bloovy One

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Having lived in Colorado (which required a front plate) I only had to be careful about parking on the street in Downtown Denver. Everywhere else I didn't get hassled over it for many years at a time. (10 or so)

Now that I live in North Carolina (which doesn't have the front plate) I forget that such a concern exists.
The only issue with this is that when driving through a state that requires a front plate, I might get more attention from an LEO until he sees that I'm from NC. Those moments of unwanted scrutiny are not a pleasant thought. He might be formulating other issues that I can also be stopped for and maybe the initial plate concern could turn into something else.
 
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YelloEye

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@sdrawkacB addressed the poll and first part of your post.

Washington state requires a front plate, enforcement of that requirement is low. Haven't run a front plate since 2009 on my daily driver, nada despite both non-moving and moving violations. Did recently hear about a member of the autocross community getting a plate ticket out in Packwood which is basically BFE.
 

JStep

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When I lived in the Chicago suburbs, I ran without a front plate for over 20 years. The only time I had any issues with that is when I was parked on a street in downtown Chicago, or if I was already doing something else really stupid that got me pulled over. You can get a ticket for breathing wrong in the city of Chicago. :rolleyes:
 

Brainstorm69

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If you run without a front plate in Texas, you’re probably going to get pulled over for it before too long, though there are a handful that claim they’ve been able to dodge it for years at a time. And you’re definitely going to need it in place to pass your annual inspection.

Not too long ago (within the last 20 years anyway) there’s was serious momentum in Texas behind the idea of essentially cutting the cost of license plates in half by no longer requiring the front plate that nobody really wants. From what I understand, people with ALPRs managed to lobby the state to keep the requirement. It’s dumb and annoying, but you either eat the tickets or put it on.
Thankfully not true where I take my car to get inspected. But I should probably put it on anyway since I got a warning from the DPS back a few years ago when in Mexia, TX of all places.
 

Disco47

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This isn't a matter of polling for opinion with yet another poll, but simply a matter of fact. States do or don't require it. If they actively enforce it or not, and how heavily they do, is another matter.

The 30 states that require a front license plate by law:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
and
  • District of Columbia
Actually I wasn't looking for a list of states. I was wanting to see the percentage of forum members who live in one vs the other. I had assumed 70-75% of people were in 2 plate states. Though some members are outside of the US.. which throws the poll off. And yes, I was wanting to know about the enforcement since I've never been exposed to such things.
 

jestric

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This isn't a matter of polling for opinion with yet another poll, but simply a matter of fact. States do or don't require it. If they actively enforce it or not, and how heavily they do, is another matter.

The 30 states that require a front license plate by law:

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

+1 @sdrawkcaB - Which leaves the 20 states that do not require a front license plate:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
 

sdrawkcaB

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Actually I wasn't looking for a list of states. I was wanting to see the percentage of forum members who live in one vs the other.
That makes sense. I "voted" on the poll to help you out with your survey.
 

jestric

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Actually I wasn't looking for a list of states. I was wanting to see the percentage of forum members who live in one vs the other. I had assumed 70-75% of people were in 2 plate states. Though some members are outside of the US.. which throws the poll off. And yes, I was wanting to know about the enforcement since I've never been exposed to such things.

Of course you would never get anything close to valid from one of these polls (but the discussion alone is interesting). The number is around 60% (depending on how you factor in D.C.). 😉
 

westwind77

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MA has two different laws/regulation in regard to front plates.

The current style license plate (red letters on white plate) is required to displayed both front and rear.

The 'old' style license plate (green letters on white plate) is only required on the rear - the plates were last produced in 1987. However, since you do not have to have them both front and rear they are highly sought after and people do not give them up. They have to be legible from a certain distance and when they start to fade or get damaged there are companies that will refurb the plate here in MA so you are not forced to get the new style.

As for enforcement, it seems low. Years ago my vehicle was registered in MA but spent 9 of those months out of state so I removed the front plate. Driving that vehicle for 8 years for those 3 months I was back I was never pulled over once for not having the front plate.

As for how is stands these days....I'm not so sure. I rarely see a vehicle that needs a plate not having it. Our state also requires inspections every year and sticker. I see plenty of ones that are well over year old with no issues yet. Each town/city is different on how they enforce though so what might be 'good' here could be a problem 15 miles away.
 

bslaws

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I can confirm Idaho is one. A few years back had my plate off and had just entered Idaho from Washington State (legal weed) and got pulled over for no front plate, I assume probable cause to check me out and see what I had in the car. Was told it was the law and was issued a fix it ticket. Currently not running a plate and will only put it back on if I get told to.

"ISP says that with a laser device you have to point to which car you want to check. Radar takes all the cars that are out there and the officer has to determine which car is speeding. Sgt Fred Rice says that may be hard if there are a pack of cars moving together or a huge semi is close by.

Sgt Rice pointed out that motorcycles can be hard to track if they are in a group of cars. But they can see them because their headlight is very reflective. But the Sgt says there are cars that are harder to detect than others. "It might take a second or two on a car that's very low key, fiberglass, it doesn't have a lot of reflective surface, but it's still going to get a reading off of it eventually," Rice said.

If you ever wonder why front license plates are required by Idaho law, it actually helps the trooper. The Sgt said, "It has to be on the front bumper. That's where the license plate has to be. And guess what? A license plate is very reflective."
 
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thebravo

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I actually wish FL was a front plate state, plenty of rear end hit and runs happen down here and the rear dashcam is less helpful without a front plate :(
 

YelloEye

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I can confirm Idaho is one. A few years back had my plate off and had just entered Idaho from Washington State (legal weed) and got pulled over for no front plate, I assume probable cause to check me out and see what I had in the car. Was told it was the law and was issued a fix it ticket. Currently not running a plate and will only put it back on if I get told to.

"ISP says that with a laser device you have to point to which car you want to check. Radar takes all the cars that are out there and the officer has to determine which car is speeding. Sgt Fred Rice says that may be hard if there are a pack of cars moving together or a huge semi is close by.

Sgt Rice pointed out that motorcycles can be hard to track if they are in a group of cars. But they can see them because their headlight is very reflective. But the Sgt says there are cars that are harder to detect than others. "It might take a second or two on a car that's very low key, fiberglass, it doesn't have a lot of reflective surface, but it's still going to get a reading off of it eventually," Rice said.

If you ever wonder why front license plates are required by Idaho law, it actually helps the trooper. The Sgt said, "It has to be on the front bumper. That's where the license plate has to be. And guess what? A license plate is very reflective."
Retroreflective even. That's what we put on the moon to determine its distance from us since 1969. Granted, those particular reflectors are a lot more technologically advanced.
 

thesilverbullet

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From 1917 to 1919, South Carolina had plates made in New York. From the end of 1919 to 2007, plates were made in prisons.

Front and back plates were required in South Carolina from 1930-1974. during World War II, there was a metal shortage and people donated their front license plates to the war cause.

In 1930, the driving test was required and drivers had to have a driver’s license. Residents as young as 12 could obtain a driver’s license and apply for one for 50 cents.

 
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Bloovy One

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Retroreflective even. That's what we put on the moon to determine its distance from us since 1969. Granted, those particular reflectors are a lot more technologically advanced.
Moon distances were actually measured before said retro-reflectors were sent.
 

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