Lawmakers fighting to keep front license plates

Ohio Senator Joe Uecker speaking at a press conference.

Ohio’s requirement that Ohio drivers get front license plates for their vehicles is not gone yet, and some state lawmakers want to keep it that way.

State Senators Joe Uecker and Jay Hottinger introduced legislation to reinstate the front license plate requirement, which the legislature voted to abolish last March as part of the state transportation budget.

In a press conference last week, Uecker cited a number of concerns from law enforcement, some of which, he said, resonated with him and his own experience as a former police officer.

Ohio Senator Joe Uecker speaking at a press conference.

“Front license plates are oftentimes critical for law enforcement to identify vehicles and suspects that are moving quickly or in a certain direction. My concerns have been echoed by many law enforcement organizations, including the ones here today, as we continue to debate this issue, said Uecker.

According to Uecker, the second plate gives law enforcement twice the odds of identifying criminal suspects and helps customers of ride-share services like Uber or Lyft ensure they’re getting in the right car.

The issue of abolishing front license plates has been a long-standing fight in the Ohio Statehouse. The legislature has created multiple task forces to study the issue. In 2013, the Ohio License Plate Safety Task Force studied the issue and recommended that Ohio maintain a two-plate requirement. The issue was also studied in 2015 by the Joint Legislative Task Force on Department of Transportation Issues.

Those who are for the abolishment argue the requirement is costly and incontinent, considering that all the states that border Ohio require only a rear license plate.

“Many constituents believe this is a revenue tool or a tool to catch speeders, when in reality, it’s an incredible crime-fighting tool,” Hottinger said.

Senate Bill 179 will now be referred to Senate committee for further consideration.


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