Bill would eliminate front license plates

Front license plates would no longer be required under a bill heard by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee March 7.

Every motor vehicle is required to display front and rear license plates, except for dealers, motorcycles, minitrucks, truck-tractors, trailers, buses and apportionable vehicles.

LB185, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Tony Fulton, would eliminate the front license plate requirement effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Fulton said an increasing number of car manufacturers are producing vehicles without front license plate holders. In addition, 19 other states require only a rear license plate, he said, which is evidence that they are sufficient for law enforcement purposes.

“While I acknowledge that the front license plate is not entirely without use, there seems to be no indication that there is a causal relationship between the front plate and law enforcement,” Fulton said.

Lt. Mark Trapp, representing the Nebraska Sheriffs’ Association, testified in opposition to the bill, saying it would hinder law enforcement.

New technology can scan the license plates of oncoming traffic and notify police officers of invalid registrations and other anomalies, he said.

Removing front license plates would limit a police officer’s ability to identify vehicles optically, Trapp said, a practice that resulted in 1,500 citations and 100 arrests in Sarpy County last year.

The committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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