December 6, 2023

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Ohio Drops Front License Plates July 01, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A recent law change eliminating the requirement that Ohio drivers display front and back license plate will take effect next week.

Starting July 1, Ohio will join its neighboring states in only requiring a rear plate for most vehicles. The change, requested by car dealers and auto enthusiasts, was part of the state transportation budget signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019.

Under the new law, drivers can still request a second license plate for an extra $7.50 But a single plate will still cost $6.50, the current price for two plates.

Commercial tractors will only be required to have one plate, but it must be displayed on the front, said Lindsey Bohrer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

State lawmakers wrote the change to take effect in July 2020, a concession to law enforcement officials and other opponents who tried to block it. Gov. Mike DeWine signed the law but favored keeping the plate. He said he didn’t want to veto the change since it was a key point in negotiations between state lawmakers.

The front plate showed signs of making a comeback, via a bill introduced in the Ohio Senate last summer. Ride-share companies and unions representing school-bus drivers joined police in pushing to rescue the front license plate. All made safety arguments, saying two license plates offer twice the chance to identify the driver of a vehicle.

But the bill only got a single hearing last December, and hasn’t gained traction with legislative leaders.

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