North Carolina bill aims to limit license plate ad/club clutter
By Peter Samuel
The General Assembly in North Carolina is passing legislation designed to limit the clutter on motor vehicle license plates so the essentials can be read better by cameras and by cops. HB67 makes it an offense to cover the state name or year/month sticker on a license plate with a license plate frame.
License plates have been taken over by car dealerships and others as mobile billboards, with the advertising encroaching on the plate as a vehicle identifier.
The bill also provides for a study by the legislative transportation oversight committee and a revenue laws committee of special club or vanity plates.
The bill says it is "the intent of the General Assembly" that special plates only be available to groups with at least 300 applicants, to limit the proliferation of plates. Clubs that don't have 300 plates in use after two years will have their authorization revoked.
The law would become effective Dec 1 2009 but for the first 12 months offenders would only get a warning of a violation of the law.
The year's warning period seems to have been a response to lobbying by car dealers, many of whom will have to recall wide 'frames' around the edges of license plates that they have installed advertising their dealership.
Often it is wide frames which cover up the state name.
State police have pushed for HB67 and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority also supports it.
The Turnpike Authority will rely heavily on automatic license plate recognition to collect tolls. Planned completely cashless, the North Carolina tollroads will only have camera reads of license plates to collect tolls from motorists without transponders.
License plates shown nearby with the state obscured are pictures from the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper.