Saturday, October 3, 2009

RV plates

When we got our "new-to-us" 2000 Jayco Designer motorhome recently (you'll find its photo at left), it started me thinking about RV plates from different states.

Oklahoma, which is where we got our rig, does not separate RVs from any other vehicles. Thus the motorhome had the standard "Native America" plate that Oklahoma had used since the mid-'90s.

Indiana and Kentucky, of course, do have special RV plates.

Indiana's RV plates since 1980 or so have been similar in design to passenger plates (except for no county coding until last year and the letters "RV" to the left of the plate number). In the early years of the multi-year plates (1984-1992), RV validation stickers were different, but since 1993, they've been the same as all the others.

Kentucky, on the other hand, didn't switch RV plates to the basic passenger plate design until the wildly unpopular "smiley sun" plate debuted in 2003. Prior to that, they were based on the plainer truck plate design. On the "smiley" issue, the plates maintained the stamped "RECREATIONAL VEHICLE" designation across the bottom of the plate. This proved rather difficult to read, as the dark blue lettering on the dark green "hills" became nearly invisible at a distance.

When former Governor Ernie Fletcher announced to much relief (!) that the unpopular "smiley" plate would be killed off in 2005, RV plates switched to the new -- and current -- "Unbridled Spirit" design. This time around, instead of stamping the designation into the plate itself, "RECREATIONAL VEHICLE" is printed in white on a bright blue sticker. It is placed on the plate in a debossed area between the lower two bolt holes, not unlike county stickers on passenger plates.

You will notice that, despite the fact that this is a newly-issued plate, it uses the same number stamping dies that Kentucky used beginning in 1987, not the new, narrower (and, arguably, harder to read) set introduced last year.

I'm not sure why RV plates haven't yet switched to the new dies, but if I were to venture a guess, it's probably because there are far fewer RV plates issued than most other varieties, and the state usually stockpiles far more plates than are normally needed. The repeating holographic security image (a silhouette of Kentucky with two digits inside) in the center of this particular plate marks it as having been made in 2007, well before the new dies were introduced.

As far as numbering, all RV plates begin with 1H at this point. Once 1HZ 999 is reached, it's my understanding that the next plate in the sequence will be 2HA 000. The "H" is constant, signifying RVs' former name: House cars.

I'm still studying how other states designate RVs on their license plates, so if you have information to contribute, please let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment