Sunday, April 14, 2013

Two License Plates Required in WI, by Annalise Falck-Pedersen

Wisconsin requires passenger cars and small trucks to have both a front and back license plate displayed. There are 31 states that enforce this law.

Vehicles in WI that are not required to display a front license plate include the following:

·         municipal vehicles
·         state vehicles
·         apportioned vehicles
·         base plate tractors

This includes patrol cars, street sweepers, garbage trucks, buses. Other federally or state owned vehicles also apply. 

Still, there are Wisconsin vehicles that do not have front plates. This is due to neglect, lack of caring/knowledge or ignorance. The fine for not having a front license plate displayed on the front bumper is $150.10, according to state patrol. In 2011 there were 11,187 citations issued for improper plates. This made up 1.3% of total citations in WI. 

For the past few years, some WI lobbyists have attempted to change the regulations from two plates to just one. There are 19 states that currently adapted this regulation. The one regulated license plate needs to be attached to the rear of the vehicle. Most recently, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle proposed in the 2009-11 state budget drop the requirement and go to one rear plate. The change would have saved almost $800,000 over two years due to reduced production costs, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

However, the movement has continuously had strong opposition by the police and patrol force. The Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association was among the biggest opponents of the idea. It is easier to catch someone if the car has two plates. It is easier for officers to read when the vehicle is driving toward them. For the police force, it is a good crime-fighting tool.