Ohio drops front license plate requirement

Local News

Ohio is set to become the 20th state to no longer require a front license plate.

The change is included in the new transportation budget, which Governor Mike DeWine has signed into law, according to the governor’s office.

Starting July 1, 2020, Ohio drivers will only be required to have a rear license plate.

“I do not want to get holes in my car,” said Michelle Dozier, who lives in Centerville. “I don’t want to have to do it myself if I have to do it.”

“All the states surrounding us, they don’t have them anyway, and nobody uses them,” said Tina Mathis, a Miami Township resident.

According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the state could save about $1.4 million per year by producing fewer plates.

But local governments could lose $120,000 to $240,000 per year in citations no longer issued, according to the LSC.

Law enforcement agencies have some concerns. Officer Joe Ferrell, spokesperson for the Kettering Police Department, said police will no longer be able to use front plate violations to stop a car for probable cause.

“If that vehicle that you want to stop has no front license plate and you’re not behind the vehicle yet, you’ve got to make some maneuver to get behind that car to pull it over and to get it identified,” Ferrell said.

Officer Ferrell said he is already used to stopping cars without front license plates. The five states that surround Ohio do not require them.

But it will have greater impact on other police departments that use license plate reader technology, he added.

“It can read the license plate as its approaching the patrol car, and then that license plate can be checked for warrants or if it’s stolen, amber alerts, things like that,” Officer Ferrell explained.

Even though the new law has been passed, drivers could still be cited for not having a front license plate through June 2020.

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