Ohio needs to punt the plate

Mar 5, 2014


Motorists would only be required to display a single license plate on the rear of their vehicles under a proposal pending in the Ohio house.

Despite opposition, mostly from law enforcement and security firms, this co-sponsored proposal makes a lot of sense to us.

Most importantly, the state would save about $1.4 million each year in license plate production and distribution costs.

The law requiring two license plates dates to an era where every vehicle had two chrome bumpers. Today’s vehicles feature molded, plastic front fascias, sometimes making the requirement for a front license plate an ugly, bug-catching albatross on modern engineering marvels.

But Ohio shouldn’t eliminate front plates just on appearances alone. The fact is most states east of the Mississippi only require one license plate, including every state that shares a border with Ohio. Therefore, if you buy a used car from Michigan or Pennsylvania, you must also purchase and install a front license plate bracket.  And if front plates were so important to law enforcement, why have registration stickers on the back plate only?

Truth be told, it’s a revenue issue. Having a second plate makes it easier to photograph those who run stop signs and red lights, don't pay tolls or drive out of unattended pay garages and parking lots without paying, according to a 2012 Texas A&M study on the issue. Linking automatic license plate readers to databases potentially makes it easier to track down scofflaws electronically instead of having human eyeballs view every image to identify license plate numbers, the study said. That can add up to millions of dollars in savings and millions more in additional revenue collected – mostly by private companies, not necessarily the state.

We believe it’s time Ohio becomes consistent with its neighboring states, save its taxpayers some money and punt the front plate.



The first line of defense can sometimes be the front plate. I recognize license plates, vehicles and then occupants. Rest assured there will be unintended consequences if they go through with this. We are not always following a vehicle and front plates give school bus drivers the time to get the plate when cars are driven past a stopped bus. Keep the plate!


Without the front plate, cars would look a lot better... no argument there.

Since the fees likely won't be reduced, not having to scrub the bugs out of the grooves may be worth the money.

It'll just be harder to identify friends in oncoming cars... and the police will have one less tool to identify the crook driving away from a crime... possibly at your house.

This is clearly a case of not being able to have it both ways.


Great idea as this would give the Patriots a place to display their NRA plates!




The saving money issue isn't valid. They just have to raise the cost of the tags to compensate. It is a business.


The whole point of license plates is accountability. All of the arguments against a front plate could be extended to the rear plate, too, with absurd results. This proposal destroys half the accountability that license plates contribute. Once again, corrupt legislators sell out to special interests at the expense of the greater good.

Darwin's choice

Many other states have only one plate, California is probably the largest, and still has an adequate law enforcement....with many more criminals than Ohio has! And, they make it work!


That's self-contratictory in more ways that one.

"...adequate law enforcement...with many more criminals than Ohio..." ???

We should be like California...because they have more criminals???

Darwin's choice

Cherry picking much?

"And, they make it work"!!


Cherry pickin' the contradictions. Nice crop, too.

They make a bad law work because they have to. That doesn't make it good.


I see nothing wrong with two license plates also we pay for those not the state


I see a ton of vehicles around town w/o a front license plate. These cars don't have a temp tag on the back nor are they from out of state. Isn't this law being broken as it stands now?

Stop It

Lose the plate. The above comments don't explain how other states have no problems as they describe.


That other states have "no problem" is a made-up fact. Witnesses and cops are less likely to get a plate number. They live with it.

Darwin's choice

Source for your "fact"?


The sky is blue. Want attribution for that, too?

Darwin's choice

Nice evade.....Obamabot?


It seems that if LE is for something, the SR and its editor are almost always against it.
Why is that?


Oh, and you support cover ups and patrol allowing trooopers to teach kids masturbation??

Licorice Schtick

Because of the Athletic Club?


This is all a moot point. Between drones & black boxes, plates will be similar to snail mail.


A human witness can't read a black box. Well, not unless specially equipped.


At least with both plates you get twice the chance to catch the plate number.

All they have to do is stop with all "pretty" plate designs and go to one or two more simple designs and leave it at that. As far as bugs go , try a little thin layer of car wax to keep them from sticking.

nosey rosey

Most people can't read the plate on a moving vehicle unless they are following it so there really is no purpose to having one on the front.


People cant even seem to get the single plate right! It belongs in the space on your vehicle designated for a license plate. Not, on the rear deck, not in the rear window but on the exterior of the car. I say keep the 2-plate system.

Dr. Information

How do other states survive. Lose the front plates.


I couldn't care less what other states do. The issue is in Ohio and the suggestion of returning to one plate design is excellent. It's just another example of government saying they need to save money, but we, the people, will not see any savings.