Some published reports have said the Department of Transportation is looking at a new design for the state’s standard license plate, but an official with the D.O.T. says that’s not the case.
The director of the D.O.T.’s motor division, Mark Lowe, says they are only looking at changing the current sequence of numbers and letters assigned to plates so the letters are first and then the numbers.
Lowe says that’s because the alpha-numeric sequences will run out in early 2012, and changing the sequence would give them more numbers.
He says they are also considering changing the color of the numbers and letters from dark blue to black to make them easier to read. Lowe says they don’t have any reason to change the standard design implemented in 1996 that features a farm scene and silos.
Lowe says the design has served the state very well and is in the best standards for making the letters and numbers legible. Plus he says all the specialty plates have been designed to work with the current background and they would have to redesign all those plates if they made a change.
One set of plates costs the D.O.T. $3.67 and Lowe says it doesn’t make sense to replace everything.
“We have four-point-one-million plates on the road right now, so if you were to go out and changes all of those overnight…that’s a significant number of plates and a significant dollar amount,” Lowe says, “and a lot of those plates are perfectly fine, so it would be a waste of money to do that.”
Lowe says if they move ahead with the change in letter and number color, they would start changing out the plates as people renewed their registration.
Lowe says the only other thing they are looking at is replacing the plates that have become worn out because of age-related factors. The state did changed to an embossed license plate in 1999, but the overall design stayed the same.