Saturday, March 26, 2011

Colorado / Capitol Watch: Diabetes license plate passes House, introduced in Senate

There has been a recent effort toward getting a Colorado license plate supporting type 1 diabetes research through the state legislature, and so far the effort appears to be succeeding. The bill, HB11-1166, has passed through the House and is now on its way to a committee review by the Senate.

At present, I am unable to find any sort of mock-up or prototype of the proposed plate; the bill as currently worded only requires that "the design of the plates must indicate that the owner of the motor vehicle [...] supports research to cure juvenile diabetes." Part of the vagueness may stem from the fact that the bill appears to be split on which term it would rather use for the cause it supports. "Type 1 diabetes" has become the accepted clinical term, while "juvenile diabetes" is the older term still in common usage (notably by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which supports the plate effort).

There is also no indication that this plate will raise any specific amount of money for diabetes research - the only fees mentioned in the bill are the two standard $25 charges for the cost to make the plate, both of which go to the State of Colorado. This is usually remedied by requiring a donation in order to receive an "approval certificate", but that isn't mentioned here.

More updates forthcoming - stay tuned.

Research / Weekly High Number Report

Numbers gleaned from the fine folks at LicensePlates.cc. Join their spotters list!

I'm a little late this week with the highs, but here you are anyway. There are ten states and two provinces showing new highs (several highs from last week are still listed on LPcc as new, but have not been included here).

United States:
  • District of Columbia: DS 7100
  • Florida: 462 PBF (county name series)
  • Illinois: N37 0429
  • Iowa: 293 YFO
  • Kentucky: 876 LZH
  • Maine: 2466 SL
  • New York: FLJ-2359
  • Pennsylvania: HTE-7250
  • South Carolina: HBK 801
  • Texas: CP7-J280
Okay, so Iowa is not progressing quite as rapidly toward its new serial format as I had originally thought. At least not this week, anyway. Florida's current county name series, which is intended to run from MAA through RZZ, appears to be about half-exhausted.

Canada:
  • British Columbia: 502 TKL
  • New Brunswick: HEY 031
New Brunswick jumps way up into the Hxx series, after having reported numerous highs through January in the GZx range. Then again, having seen no new NB highs throughout February or the beginning of March, this is perhaps not surprising.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Delaware / The Delaware 3000 opens a new Marketplace for active tags

Image by Jordan Irazabal / TheDelaware3000.org. I claim no copyright.
First of all, if you're not familiar with The Delaware 3000, I would urge you to become familiar with it.

It doesn't matter whether you're from Delaware or not - what Jordan Irazabal and a vast squadron of sharp-eyed plate spotters have put together there is nothing short of incredible in scope and detail.

You see, Delaware issues license plates in number-only form, and Irazabal has made it his mission to find all of Delaware's lowest tags - those at 1000 or lower. (It's effectively the opposite of places like LicensePlates.cc, which aims to find the highest numbers.) The lowest numbers are as old as the state's vehicle licensing system, which dates to 1911. These numbers can be transferred from one person to another for a modest fee, and inactive low numbers are often auctioned by the state for whatever the market will bear.

With this in mind, low numbers have become pretty valuable in Delaware - to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And Irazabal, shrewdly in my opinion, has decided to get in on that side of our hobby as well with a new "Marketplace" page. Acting as a broker for interested parties on either the buying or selling side, he currently has 30 sets of desirable active tags listed as available.

He is uniquely positioned to perform this duty, having already done the research on which numbers are desirable and having created the perfect forum in which to view them. Set prices range from as low $750 (for a low five-digit tag, "14357") to as high as $199,000 (for "121"), though some are listed only as "make offer" so it could be as high as you feel is necessary.

That high, of course, was reached a few years back at one of the aforementioned state auctions when one man spent $675,000 in a quest to get "6" - and he said he was prepared to drop $1 million if necessary.

Colorado / Capitol Watch: Specialty plate time extension passes both houses, awaits signatures

Looks like several specialty license plates that were in danger of being discontinued may get a reprieve. Colorado HB11-1236, which has passed both houses and is awaiting signatures, proposes to extend the minimum requirement cutoff for many specialty plates to July of 2016. The plates affected are:

  • Support Education
  • Kids 1st
  • Italian American
  • Support the Horse
  • Advancing Clean Energy (Project C)
  • Saving Lives Through Education (Alive at 25)
  • Ski Country USA
  • Be an Organ and Tissue Donor (Donate Life)
  • Visit Your State Parks
  • Adopt a Shelter Pet

In short, all these plates must still meet the minimum issuance requirement of 3,000 plates to remain available if the bill passes - but some that might have been discontinued this year or next year due to low issuance will now be given a lot more time to reach that number. (It's worth noting that Ski Country has already reached that level, and Shelter Pet is on track to do so by the middle of this year, let alone its original cutoff of July 2014.)

Alumni plates are also included in this bill. Their minimum issuance requirement remains at 500, but they too will be extended to July of 2016 upon passage.

Interestingly, the Boy Scouts of America plate, which was originally intended to be a limited release for just two years, would also be extended to 2016. However, the bill (as far as I can tell) makes no provision for the plate remaining available any longer than that even if it reaches the 3,000-issue threshold. Curious...

As originally written, the bill also sought to repeal the minimum numerical requirement entirely, but this was amended out of the final product before it reached the Senate.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Colorado / Update: Girl Scouts push for 100th Anniversary license plate in 2012

March 21, 2011 Update: I have been informed that the proposed Girl Scouts plate will be a topic of discussion at tomorrow's meeting of the Colorado Senate Transportation Committee, held at 1:30 PM at the State Capitol in Denver. Girl Scouts will be on hand at the meeting to testify in favor of the plate and about their experiences in Scouting.

So, the bad news here is that "Cookiepalooza" (officially known as the Girl Scout Cookie Activity) has ended as of March 13. Which means no more Thin Mints for me...bummer.

The good news, at least for license plate fans, is that Girl Scouts of Colorado has begun the process of getting a specialty plate of their own on the road for their upcoming 100th anniversary in 2012. This is a natural step after the release of the Boy Scouts' anniversary plate last year (currently at 653 copies issued through January), and one would expect it to be issued for a similar two-year span if it is ultimately approved by the Legislature.

When and if more details or, hopefully, a mock-up of the design appear, I'll be sure to let you know.

Full press release after the jump.

March Madness Plates: East Region

So, how many colleges and universities represented in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament are also represented by license plates?

I was curious, so I've endeavored to find out. Generally, I'm looking for a plate from the state in which the school is actually located, though I know some states have alumni plates for schools that are nowhere nearby.

We'll start tonight with the 16 teams seeded to the East Region.

Ohio State University - Ohio BMV offers a plate on the new "Beautiful Ohio" base for the Buckeye faithful. And for making the Sweet Sixteen, THE Ohio State University has earned a photo of said plate. (According to the OSU Alumni Association, plates are also available in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.)

University of Texas at San Antonio - The Roadrunners got blown out by the aforementioned Buckeyes, but at least Texas DMV partner MyPlates offers a very nice UTSA license plate as a consolation prize. Like all MyPlates designs, it's only available as a vanity plate.

George Mason University - The Buckeyes continued their reign of terror by beating up on Mason's Patriots this evening, but this shouldn't dissuade their fans from picking up Virginia DMV's official GMU license plate. (Honestly, it's rather plain, but with so many plates in the state of Virginia, a lot of the optional issues are.)

Villanova University - GMU was at least able to knock off the weakened 'Nova Wildcats, but this was very much an anticlimax compared to what Villanova did during the regular season. PennDOT doesn't mind, though - they'll gladly supply a license plate with a big V on it to soothe your wounds.

West Virginia University - Pride of the Appalachians they may be, but the Mountaineers eventually fell to arch-rival Kentucky. WV DOT shows no sign of removing the Mountaineers plate from their rolls, however (scroll down a ways on their "Special License Plates" page to see a grainy photo of it).

Clemson University - The Tigers kept it close against WVU, yet succumbed regardless. Clemson fans in South Carolina will keep the dream alive year-round, however, with this rather attractive plate from SC DMV (again, scroll down to see it in alphabetical order).

University of Kentucky - Kentucky's Wildcats knocked off both Princeton and West Virginia, and will battle the vaunted OSU Buckeyes soon in the Sweet Sixteen round. Show your pride with the Big Blue plate from Kentucky MVL.

Princeton University - Princeton won the Ivy League's automatic bid to the Tournament (as did the women's team), but were sent home early by a strong Kentucky Wildcats squad. Sadly, it does not appear that New Jersey MVC offers any plate yet for Princeton fans or alumni.

Xavier University - Marquette and Xavier, two Midwestern Catholic powerhouses, slugged it out in the second round - and Marquette came out on top. Ohio BMV still has a "Beautiful Ohio" plate for Musketeer fans, though.

Marquette University - Along with their conquest of Xavier, the Golden Eagles punched Syracuse's ticket home, and will give their all against North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. Milwaukee, go nuts and get yourself an MU plate from Wisconsin DOT.

Syracuse University - They had a very strong regular season, and managed to put down Indiana State in the second round, but Marquette proved to be too much for the Orange in the third round. Oh, well. Have another glass of juice and order yourself the appropriate plate from New York State DMV. (Scroll down, it's there. Trust me.)

Indiana State University - ISU went down at the hands of Syracuse, but give it up to the Sycamores for putting up a good fight. And give a little back with the plate to match from Indiana BMV.

University of Washington - In an all-canine battle, the Huskies beat up the Bulldogs in the second round. Then they got well and truly stuck by the Tar Heels in round three. Washington State DL offers a nice-looking UW license plate, though (scroll down a bit), so just wait until next season rolls around and maybe things will get better.

University of Georgia - Yes, UGA got smacked down by the Huskies. But we all know that basketball isn't really the Bulldogs' sport, anyway, right? Get yourself an UGA plate from Georgia DOR and hold out until September. (That link is weird - you'll probably have to scroll down, then click on the link to view the plate.)

University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) - The regular season was torture for the Tar Heels, so getting a relative break in the second round against Long Island was helpful. Now, after a tough battle against the Washington Huskies, UNC will face off against Marquette in the Sweet Sixteen. With as much effort as the Heels have put forth on the basketball court for so many years, it's really too bad that NC DMV can't offer anything better than a modified version of their aged "First in Flight" plate to honor them.

Long Island University - Getting into the tournament was enough of a struggle, and then they were forced to take on powerhouse North Carolina in the second round. As if that weren't enough, New York State DMV doesn't even offer an LIU plate for the Blackbird backers. What do you have to do to get some respect?

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the West Region.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Opinion: So, why no Colorado Rockies plate?

I know, I know. The Colorado State Legislature has many other things to do right now that are more important than creating yet another specialty license plate.

However.

Why don't we have a Colorado Rockies license plate?

The Broncos have a plate - and a very nice one, I might add. So how hard would it be for one (or both) of the two Rockies charity organizations - the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club Foundation and the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund - to do some lobbying and give their fans the choice of a license plate for the Purple Faithful?

Better yet, why aren't the fans doing it?

I'll make this pledge - as a Rockies fan myself, I'll gladly do everything I can on this forum of mine to help the process along if someone is willing to get the ball rolling. (My regular work schedule during the week doesn't generally lend itself to being able to make phone calls to legislators or the DMV.)

So, who's up for it? Think we can have a bill under consideration - or better yet, passed - by the time Rocktober 2011 rolls around?

Colorado / New Plate Watch: SMM DMO (special mobile machinery dealer demo)


Type: Other. Registrant must "provide sufficient proof that he/she sells special mobile machinery in the ordinary course of business." The plate is to be displayed on special mobile equipment being demonstrated for the purpose of a sale. (Why this is strictly necessary is beyond me, but whatever.)

Required minimum: None (that I know of, anyway).

Cost: Unknown. Probably the same as a regular dealer demo (DMO) plate.

Total issued through February 28: 1. Yeah, that's 1 as in singular. Not sure why there was a pressing need for this plate - guess we'll find out during the year.

Colorado / New Plate Watch: Veteran of the Afghanistan War


Type: Military. Registrant must be a naturalized citizen and a member of the United States Armed Services any time from October 7, 2001 to "the end of the conflict" (since it has not exactly "ended" as of yet). Plate can be issued to cars, motorcycles (and boy, are those serial numbers small!), RVs/motorhomes, or light trucks.

Required minimum: None.

Cost: $50 plus appropriate taxes and any other fees. Personalization is not possible.

Total issued through February 28: 35, for an average of about 18 per month. Much less than the Iraq plate, obviously, but then there haven't been as many troops sent to Afghanistan, either.

Colorado / New Plate Watch: Go Mountain Lions (UCCS)


Type: Alumni. Available to private owners of any passenger car, RV/motorhome, or light truck. (Not available for motorcycles.)

Required minimum: 600 plates issued by January 2013.

Cost: $50 plus appropriate taxes and any other fees. Registrant must also donate $50 to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Alumni Association to receive an authorization certificate. Note that alumni status is NOT required to obtain the plate - just the donation. Personalization is also possible for an extra $60.

Total issued through February 28: 41. That's a slim average of just about 21 per month, and there's a lot of UCCS grads and parents out there. However, it's enough to exceed the minimum requirement by a fair amount if it stays constant over the next three years.

Colorado / New Plate Watch: Visit Your State Parks


Type: Group Special. Available to private owners of any passenger car, motorcycle, RV/motorhome, or light truck.

Required minimum: 3000 plates must be issued by July 1, 2014.

Cost: $50 plus appropriate taxes and any other fees. A $44 donation to the Foundation for Colorado State Parks is also required in order to receive an authorization certificate, which is turned in at the DMV. Personalization is also possible - and it works rather well on this plate, which carries most of its artwork above the serial (that, and the logo is fairly disposable in my opinion).

Total issued through February 28: 79. That averages out to about 40 per month - not bad, but the plate is pretty enough (and inexpensive enough, given that there's no extra renewal fees) to deserve more than that. And if that rate doesn't increase somewhat, it won't even have hit 2000 plates issued by the time the minimum requirement of 3000 is due. It also means that only $3,476 has been donated so far to FCSP.

Colorado / New Plate Watch: Veteran of the Iraq War


Type: Military. Registrant must be a naturalized citizen and a member of the United States Armed Services any time from March 20, 2003 to "the end of the conflict" (since it has not exactly "ended" as of yet). Plate can be issued to cars, motorcycles (and boy, are those serial numbers small!), RVs/motorhomes, or light trucks.


Required minimum: None.

Cost: $50 plus appropriate taxes and any other fees. Personalization is not possible.

Total issued through February 28: 107. That's an average of about 54 per month - and to be sure, there are a lot of Iraq vets in the state, but it's hard to say how many might opt for this plate over the regular branch plates. We will have to see, I guess.

Colorado / New Plate Watch: Livery


Type: Other. Registrant must be licensed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission as a limousine operator. This plate can be issued to cars, adult buses, trailer coaches, or multi-purpose trailers.

Required minimum: None. This plate will gradually replace whatever type of plates are currently being used by each limousine operator, be they passenger plates, trailer plates, or otherwise. (I'm not sure if this means that any specialty plates would also have to be replaced.)

Cost: Unknown. (I expect it's about the same as fleet plates, whatever those cost.) Personalization also possible - under the new law (see PDF here), vanity numbers can be transferred directly from the registrant's old (presumably passenger) plates to the new livery plates.

Total issued through February 28: 149. At an average of about 75 per month so far, it's clear that limo services are just going to wait until their old plates expire rather than jump on the bandwagon. It'll be interesting to see exactly how many limousines are in the state come the end of the year, actually.

Colorado / New Plate Watch: Adopt a Shelter Pet

Colorado introduced seven new license plates at the start of 2011 - two specialty plates, two military plates, one alumni plate, and two "other" plates. In this ongoing monthly feature, we'll check out how popular each one has become so far.


Type: Group Special. Available to private owners of any passenger car, motorcycle, RVs/motorhomes, or light truck.

Required minimum: 3000 plates must be issued by July 1, 2014.

Cost: $80 plus appropriate taxes and any other fees, $30 of which goes to the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund. This plate also adds $25 per year in renewal costs, that extra fee going to the CPO Fund as well. Personalization is also possible at an additional $60, plus $25 extra per year to renew.

Total issued through February 28: 906. That's an average of 453 per month so far, which is an impressive rate for a new specialty plate - especially under the revised (read: increased) fee structure. If that rate keeps up, this plate will hit its required 3000-plate minimum by July of this year at the latest. The best part? That's also $27,180 so far for the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund. Good work, motorists!

Colorado / By the Numbers: Top 10 Biggest Losers

No, not that kind of Biggest Loser. These are the 10 plates on Colorado roads that are disappearing at the fastest rate. The reasons are many - people move, people change vehicle types, etc. In any case, these are the plates that are going away.

Down 3,030: Passenger. This isn't entirely surprising, of course, given the ever-increasing range of specialty plates to choose from. Not to mention the fact that this design is now ten years old, and that it was a modification of a 13-year-old design to start with, AND that that original 1977 style had been around in various forms for the last 17 years anyway. So, I'll grant you that the trademark Colorado mountain range is certainly distinct from any other license plate - but it's also old, and people have been looking at it for a long time.

Down 1,522: Designer (passenger). The original "designer" issue (otherwise known as the "white" plate) was introduced in 1990, and was an instant success mainly because at the time, there were no other choices. As that plate's original six-digit numbering system began to quickly run out, the state switched to a seven-digit system with the revised "denim" designer plate. These were quite the rage for the remainder of the decade, but by 1997 the state had begun introducing its first specialty plates (the 10th Mountain Division and Pioneers issues). Finally, in 2000, the state made a general change back to six-digit serials and redesigned the designer plate into its current form. At the start, it remained quite popular - but at the same time, legislators began to approve a new batch of specialty plates every year. As the number of choices has grown, the number of designer plate users has begun to drop precipitously. Don't worry, though - there's still well over 100,000 of them out there, so they won't be gone for good any time soon.

Down 367: SMM (special mobile machinery) plate. As described earlier in the Top 20 Biggest Winners, the SMM decal has made heavy inroads into the issuance of traditional SMM plates. It remains to be seen if the state will make further adjustments to the law, but as of now it seems that SMM plates are slowly being removed from the rolls.

Down 292: Committed to a Cure (the old pink ribbon plate). Again, we went over this in the Top 20 Biggest Winners, but it seems that people holding this now-discontinued plate are beginning to switch over to the new Join the Cause version. Makes sense - if you're going to be forced to pay an extra fee, you might as well have a new plate to go with it. That being said, you have to look closely to tell the difference unless you're right up close to this plate - the state did a pretty good job of making the new plate as much like this one as they possibly could without entirely copying the design.

Down 284: Handicap. As in many other states, handicap plates in Colorado are on the decline in favor of windshield hangers, which are easier to transfer from vehicle to vehicle as needed. There are still over 40,000 of these plates out there, though - many of them are in the old green mountain design as well, with a number-only serial. The interesting thing about this plate, if there is one, is that the "COLORADO" lettering along the bottom is, well, wrong, and has been since day one of this plate (and the personalized passenger plate that also uses this base). Look at the "A" and compare it to that used in any of the designs above - see how it's not rounded? That rounded "A" had been used on Colorado plates for over 50 years (including flat plates like this one) when this design appeared - how did the otherwise fine folks at the DMV miss that?

Down 281: TRK (truck) designer. Along with the new passenger designer plate in 1990, Colorado also introduced a similar design for trucks on the same base. This continued through the "denim" base as well, and was fully redesigned again for 2000. At the time, the state was still registering pickup trucks with dedicated "TRK" plates - but then they changed the law, and began putting passenger plates on trucks instead. Which meant that, really, there was no more need for a separate TRK designer plate either, and the type was retired. Hence, these plates have been rapidly declining in usage over the last few years. Even more scarce, however, is the short-lived RTK version of this plate...anyone have one they'd like to trade or sell? (The plate pictured is from my own collection, and is not for sale.)

Down 268: Respect Life (Columbine). Behind the designer issue, this is the most popular optional plate in the state. Introduced shortly after the general redesign, it was intended as a memorial tribute to the victims of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. It has been controversial in two ways, however. The first and most important controversy is that, like the original version of the pink ribbon plate, this plate provides no real financial benefit to the cause it intends to support. When issued at a local DMV office, the state supplies this plate along with a voluntary form to contribute to the Columbine Injured Victims Fund - however, being voluntary, there is no obligation to contribute anything at all to receive the plate. Indeed, the founders of the charity have seen very little impact on their fundraising from the sales of the plate - despite that there are over 100,000 in regular usage. The second controversy regards the slogan on the bottom - "Respect Life". While this is somewhat in keeping with the spirit of the Columbine survivors who originally proposed the plate, the slogan is very close to the "Choose Life" message featured on plates around the country that are promoted by an anti-abortion organization. Hence, in the absence of an actual Colorado-issued Choose Life plate, this plate has become the de facto version of same - which was, of course, not the original intent. "Remember Columbine" might have been a better choice, but that water is well and truly under the bridge now.

Down 225: Honorably Discharged Veteran. Introduced back in the early 1990s, this was Colorado's first attempt at a plate for non-disabled military veterans. Like the designer plate when it was introduced for the general public, this plate was popular among veterans in the absence of any other choices. It was redesigned in the late 1990s to a flat graphic style, and then redesigned once again in 2000 to its current look. Not long thereafter, Colorado began introducing the first of its branch-specific veteran plates with a new U.S. Marine Corps issue. And it wasn't long before the numbers of HDV plates began to decline.

Down 112: FTK (farm truck). I'm not sure if it's because of the general decline in farming as a common vocation, or because there's very little difference between choosing this plate or just registering a pickup with a passenger plate, but FTK plates have been on a slow decline for years now. Interestingly, FTR (farm tractor) plates are on the rise, though there have always been a lot less of those on the roads anyway.

Down 87: TRK (special-use truck). Ah, the TRK (truck) plate. Once a common sight all over Colorado, this used to be the standard issue for pickup trucks and cargo vans, as well as medium-duty trucks under 16,000-lbs in GVWR. Changes in the law during the mid-2000s, however, caused light-duty trucks to be reclassified under passenger car rules - which means that now all light trucks receive passenger plates. The remaining stock of TRK plates was then reserved for what the state calls "special-use" trucks, which are heavy (over 16,000-lbs GVWR) trucks used for a specific purpose (such as cement trucks, tow trucks, beverage delivery, tank trucks, etc.). Because the number of trucks with such specific usage is so small, TRK plates have largely disappeared from daily life unless you know where to look. However, there will still be a lot of older pickups carrying TRK plates for the foreseeable future until their owners decide to give them up or the state finally takes them out of service.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Colorado / By the Numbers: Top 20 Biggest Winners

As a public service to license plate collectors and enthusiasts everywhere, and because I find it entertaining, every month this blog will provide a general review of plate issuance numbers in the State of Colorado.

The reason I'm able to do this is because the Colorado Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles provides a complete breakdown of how many plates are currently registered within the state every month. They do this mostly to provide full disclosure, but also as a way of determining which specialty plates are due to be retained or retired every year.

This report consists of four parts. First is a detailed look at the Top 20 Biggest Winners, those plate types that are increasing their issuance by the largest amount for the month. Second is the Bottom 10 Biggest Losers - that is, the 10 plate types that are declining in usage at the fastest rate. Third is the New Plate Watch, in which all the new plate types that have become available this year are analyzed. And fourth is the "On the Road" list of which plate types are most common, starting with the generic passenger plate and moving down from there.

This edition, being my first, will be loaded with extra information and pictures to spice up the presentation. Next month, being a quarterly edition, will focus on a different set of criteria.

Check out the Top 20 Biggest Winners after the jump...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Alaska / Capitol Watch: In God We Trust...maybe

By a vote of 32-3, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill that would create a new "In God We Trust" license plate (as reported by KTUU.com). The bill now heads to the Senate for further debate and possible approval.

Should the bill become law, Alaska would become one of...well, many, MANY states now offering one of these IGWT plates. (Some states, such as Florida, even offer two!) In most states where they exist, these plates are made available at no extra cost. However, the text of Alaska HB 19 indicates that motorists will be charged an extra fee of $30 on top of the cost to register their vehicle with the new plates.

Besides the proposed IGWT issue, Alaskan lawmakers are also working on the approval of new plates in support of anti-abortion causes (the familiar "Choose Life" design now used in 26 other states) and the National Rifle Association.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Research / Weekly High Number Report

Note: The data in this report is derived from the amazing compilation work done by the folks at LicensePlates.cc, who track high numbers for pretty much all of the 50 states (save Mississippi, which is impossible to pin down) and all the Canadian provinces and territories, plus a few other jurisdictions. If you have an eye for highs, join their spotters list - it takes less than a minute, and you won't get any crazy e-mails for signing up.

As of today, St. Patrick's Day, there are 23 states and 4 provinces showing new highs.

United States
  • Alaska: GDU 859
  • Arizona: APT0028
  • Arkansas: 213 PXI
  • California: 6RLW111
  • Connecticut: 101-YPD
  • District of Columbia: DS 6548
  • Illinois: N36 0520
  • Iowa: 897 YFL
  • Kentucky: 569 LZB
  • Louisiana: VKT 891
  • Maine: 2458 SL
  • Minnesota: 216-GKZ
  • New Hampshire: 310 0181
  • New Mexico: LSL 710 (Centennial base), 334-RCY (yellow base)
  • New York: FLH-2016
  • Ohio: FHF 1214
  • Pennsylvania: HTC-1795
  • South Carolina: HAR 505
  • Tennessee: A61-02N
  • Virginia: XEC-4199
  • Washington: AEF6182
  • Wisconsin: 302-SUU
  • Wyoming: 2-66934 (Laramie County)
Note that Iowa and Connecticut are rapidly approaching the end of their current serial formats - Iowa is reportedly going to reverse their pattern (ABC 123) in the style of their 1986 issue, while Connecticut has not made any pronouncements about their next series yet. And since numbers as old as the 1950s remain usable in the Constitution State if registration is kept current, they don't have a lot of options left apart from moving to seven digits.

Canada
  • Alberta: BCT-4673
  • British Columbia: 899 THS
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: HVA 703
  • Saskatchewan: 070 HVR
British Columbia, which has always been known for its odd "split" method of serial numbering, has been all over the place in recent months - first with plates that were way out of order, then with plates that appear to have been issued in reverse order. They appear to have stabilized now, and are advancing again under the "T" series.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Nebraska / Capitol Watch: Just one plate for the Cornhusker State?

    As reported in the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska's state legislature is considering adjustment of regulations that require motorists to affix two license plates on their vehicle.

    Technically, there are three bills being considered, all three with the same aim: to remove the front license plate. One bill deals with collector vehicles, one deals with commercial vehicles, and a third (the most ambitious) would strike the front plate from every vehicle in the state.

    The "ambitious" option, Legislative Bill 185, was introduced by Sen. Tony Fulton (Lincoln), his rationale being that the money saved might give taxpayers a bit of a break. Under the revised law, the state would most likely increase the fees charged for a single plate, but it would still be less than the current cost to receive two plates.

    As is usually the case in debates of this sort (which have recently been hashed out in Illinois, among other jurisdictions), the main opposition tends to be from law enforcement agencies. And as usual, their main point of contention is that having just one plate makes it more difficult to identify an oncoming vehicle. One county sheriff noted that his counterparts in Kansas wish they had a two-plate system (Kansas has been a single-plate state for many years), and that convicted/executed terrorist Timothy McVeigh was brought to justice only after being picked up by an Oklahoma State Trooper for failure to display a license plate.

    An opposing view came from senators representing Nebraska's farming regions. Sen. Tom Hansen (North Platte) is the sponsor of LB 182, which would remove the front plate from farm and commercial vehicles. Hansen made the point that plates used by his family as far back as the First World War have tended to hold up better to the wear and tear of farm usage than the lighter-weight modern plates, which are replaced less frequently. (Interesting from a collector standpoint: Hansen displayed photographs of said plates, which indicates to me that he must have quite the collection - anyone know if he's an ALPCAn?)

    No action has yet been taken on any of the three bills, the text of which can be perused at the Nebraska Legislature web site (search for LB 182, LB 185, and LB 216).