Iowa motorists will start getting new license plates next week. It’s been 15 years since Iowa switched from the plain, dark blue plate with white letters and numbers to the current skyline design, and that design is sticking around for at least another decade.
LaVonne Short, executive officer of Iowa D.O.T.’s Office of Vehicle Services, says it’s time to swap out the old and bolt on the new.
Short says, “Individuals who have license plates that were originally issued in 1996 or 1997, throughout the year when they receive their renewal notice, they will notice on there that it also indicates they are due to receive a replacement plate for their 15-year-old plate.”
You’ll have the option of going to your county treasurer’s office to pick up the new plate, or send in $3 and they’ll send it to you in the mail. Even if your old plate is still in good shape, you’ll have to upgrade. “There are quite a few plates out there that have been damaged for whatever reason or they’re faded or bent,” Short says. “For law enforcement purposes, we need to have good-looking, sharp plates out there so they can easily identify the vehicle.”
The new plates will look almost the same, with the blue-on-white city skyline and farm-scape, but the sharp eye will notice a few differences. “Earlier this year, we changed the font on the plate from blue to black and we’ve also made a change with the zeroes,” Short says.
“They’re no longer just a zero but it’s a circle-slash zero on the plate. Later on this summer, when we run out of the current alpha-numeric structure, we will do a switch. Instead of the 111-AAA, the plates will be AAA-111.” Iowa does not plan to change up the city/farm design, Short says, as there are already so many other specialty plate options, including collegiate, military and other designs.
While there are just over three-million Iowans, we own 4.1-million registered vehicles.