Front license plate proposal resurfaces - East Valley Tribune: News

Front license plate proposal resurfaces

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Posted: Sunday, December 25, 2005 5:08 am | Updated: 7:22 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

So your boyfriend just gave you a decorative license plate for the front of your car with your names painted inside a heart.

Well, if a Mesa lawmaker gets her way, you’ll have no place to put it on your vehicle.

Also gone would be plates you can buy at the mall or the carwash extolling your love for cats, blondes or even the Denver Broncos. And forget about a plate that urges people to ask you about your grandchildren.

SB1028, sponsored by Sen. Marilyn Jarrett, R-Mesa, would return Arizona to pre-1988 days when all vehicles had to have two license plates: One in front and one in back.

Carolyn Van Santen, activities director of the Scottsdale Corvette Club, said the idea might not go over well among sports car owners. Although some Corvette owners put decorative plates on the fronts of their cars, Van Santen said most do not.

"Typically the true Corvetters keep their cars pure," she said. "They don’t modify them in that regard."

But Jarrett said she has nothing against sports car owners or all those cute license plates. Instead, she said she’s doing a favor for the Arizona Automobile Theft Prevention Authority.

The head of that agency, Enrique Cantu, wants the change because of new technology that might help reduce the state’s high rate of stolen cars and trucks. He said police in some other states already have "license plate readers’’ — devices mounted on a patrol car that scan visible license plates.

The system then checks the plates against a list of stolen vehicles.

"If I’m driving my car down the road and you’re coming at me, I can’t tell until you’re past me whether your automobile is stolen or not,’’ Cantu said.

He said if a police officer knows the car coming up behind him is stolen, it gives the officer time to determine the best way to pull the vehicle over.

Cantu said even if the state doesn’t incorporate the technology, the idea of two plates makes sense.

"I can tell you from my experience in law enforcement it is much more difficult to steal two license plates than one license plate,’’ said Cantu, with the Washington State Patrol for 26 years before retiring as a captain.

Some opposition already is brewing.

"I’ve had people come in and say it’s going to ruin the front of my Corvette and my Beemer or whatever,’’ Jarrett said. "I expect a lot of flak.’’

Mesa resident Wade Burns, 31, said it would be a hassle if state lawmakers pass the proposal — especially for car owners who would have to modify their vehicles to accommodate a front license plate.

"As far as the vanity plates on the front, I don’t care," Burns said. "But two plates would be a hassle."

But Shelly Mardany, 49, of Mesa said she wouldn’t mind altering her minivan for the front plate.

"I could never understand why they didn’t have it to begin with," she said. "I wouldn’t have a problem at all."

Another potential problem to Jarrett’s bill relates to economics.

Nothing in the measure permits the state Motor Vehicle Division to recoup the higher cost of producing a second set of plates and distributing them.

Six years ago, when lawmakers last reviewed the concept, MVD put a $2 million price tag on the proposal.

But since that time the number of registered Arizona vehicles has increased by nearly 75 percent.

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