Bill Would Drop Requirement for Front License Plate

Bill Would Drop Requirement for Front License Plate

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BOUNTIFUL, Utah (AP) -- A Bountiful legislator is proposing a bill that would eliminate the requirement that cars and commercial vehicles have a front license plate.

Republican State Sen. and former auto-dealership owner Dan Eastman said truckers back his bill because they experience costly, time-consuming delays at weigh stations when their front plates have been lost or damaged.

They are required to wait for a new plate to be delivered before they can continue on their way, he said.

A front license plate should not be necessary for commercial vehicles because a number on the cab can be used for identification purposes, he said.

The bill could also save the state money because license plate production would be cut in half, he said.

Law officers with the state Division of Motor Vehicle Enforcement are concerned elimination of the front license plate could make it more difficult to recover stolen automobiles.

Some DMV enforcement vehicles are equipped with infrared cameras that can scan up to 50 license plates a minute and determine automatically if the plate has been stolen, Charlie Roberts, a spokesman for the Utah Tax Commission.

Sgt. Sheldon Riches of the Utah Highway Patrol said front license plates are critical in identifying vehicles that pass patrol cars on the highway or those in gas skips. "If you get the plate number, it's a dead give away. Without it, it could hamper an investigation."

Eastman said he received a citation in Salt Lake City several years ago for not having a front plate, but that isn't the driving force in his decision to sponsor the bill, and he "doesn't hold any grudges."

License plate fees are expected to generate about $2.4 million for the state this year, which is used to cover production and shipping of the plates and associated decals, Roberts said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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