Thursday, May 21, 2009

2007-present: Choices, choices, choices!

In 2007, Indiana decided to jump on the bandwagon with other states and issue a patriotically-themed "In God We Trust" plate as a no-cost alternative to the standard "" plate.

The plate proved extremely popular from the get-go, probably because:
  1. Hoosiers are patriotic by their nature.
  2. Many Hoosiers believe in God.
  3. It's free.
  4. It's prettier than the standard plate.
Regardless, the ACLU sued the state, but lost, so as of this date, the IGWT plate continues to be more popular than the other available no-cost choices.

Yes, I said choices. Plural.

As of 2009, there are three no-cost passenger plates from which a motorist can choose, and they are the new standard plate, which debuted last year (more on that in a moment); the IGWT plate; and the new Lincoln's Boyhood Home plate, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

With the new '09 standard plate, it seems the BMV is looking to push people into the other options, because they haven't come out with a standard-issue plate as plain and undistinguished in appearance as this one in more than three decades.

It's the first to have a dark blue background since 1960. And yes, it's still flat, as are, now, all Indiana plates.

And that's not all. For the first time since the introduction of county code numbers in 1963, the BMV changed the numbering system. Each county is represented (as on the plate in my collection above) by a black-on-white sticker across the top of the plate with the county's number and name (in this case, Hamilton County, #29).

"INDIANA" rides at the bottom for the first time since 1987.

And the numbering could be three numbers and a single letter (ex. 123A), three numbers and two letters (ex. 456BC), or three numbers and three letters (ex. 789DEF). There seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to which plates get what combination, or where they are issued.

I guess it's just another reason to try one of the other alternatives, which my parents did in 2008. Mom's Freestyle and Dad's 2003 Dodge Ram pickup both wear IGWT plates, and wear them proudly.

Now, if I could convince them both to switch to the Lincoln plate this year, I'll finally get a couple of IGWT plates in my collection ... HA!

UPDATE, JUNE 1, 2009: During the spring of 2009, it appears Indiana has switched to recycled aluminum for its license plates. A small recycle symbol (familiar to most of us) is now printed in the lower left-hand corner of each plate. I've seen it on standard and IGWT plates.

Where they're from:
  • The In God We Trust plate belonged to my grandfather, Floyd Newkirk, and was used on his 2005 Chevrolet Venture.  Its sibling, TO 8774 (not pictured), was used on his 1985 Chevrolet Silverado. 
  • The standard-issue plate from Hamilton County (738PAU) came in a trade from Dave Nicholson.
  • The LBH plate image is from the Indiana BMV, used with their blessing in an exchange whereby they're using some of my plates on their site. The 2009 standard plate is from Hamilton County.

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