Thursday, December 30, 2010

Indiana license branches won't have your plates and stickers in the new year

When the time comes for you to trudge down to your friendly local license branch in Indiana in 2011, don't expect to walk out with your shiny new license plate or your 2012 sticker.

The branches won't have them.

Evansville Fox affiliate WTVW reports today that the BMV will begin mailing all of those items from a central location (presumably in Indianapolis) after the first of the year.

Many motorists already renew online or by mail anyway, the Bureau says, so the move makes sense.

Driver's licenses are already issued this way.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another new look for Indiana's truck plates?

Indiana BMV image
I've been looking at pictures of Indiana's new crop of license plates for 2011 (which can be found on the BMV's website), and one caught my eye.

It appears that truck plates are changing to the same numbering format as regular passenger plates.  Well, at least it looks that way from the picture.

But maybe it'll be different once the plates actually hit the road.  Maybe.  And maybe they'll center the numbers and letters.

Or maybe they'll put the letters "TK" in front of the number.


Oh, and speaking of letters in front of the numbers on plates (which I told you about some months ago) here's the list of the ones I know now:

D - Disabled
DF & DH - Disabled Veteran
F - Farm
M - Motorcycle
PH - Purple Heart
R - RV
SP - Semi trailer, permanent
SE - Semi trailer, non-permanent
TR - Trailer

I'll add to this list as I see others, of course.

Kentucky trusts God ... enough to give Him a really lame license plate

Lexington Herald-Leader image
When it came time to put God on their license plates, Indiana and Oklahoma at least had the decency to put the Lord's name on a good-looking plate.

Kentucky just phoned it in.

The Bluegrass State's new "In God We Trust" plate, which goes on sale in January 2011, looks little different from the standard "Unbridled Spirit" issue that debuted five years ago.  That slogan and its horse-headed logo still grace the plate, albeit in much-smaller form.

One would think that a state that's willing to give tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks to a bunch of religious nuts for a Noah's Ark theme park would be willing to give the King of Kings and Lord of Lords a little more respect than His name on a retreaded design.

But if one does think that, one would be wrong.

There is good news, though:  Like their neighbors to the north, Kentuckians who want to share their trust in the Almighty won't have to pay more for the privilege.  Both the standard and IGWT plates will cost you $21 plus applicable taxes and fees.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Recently, the Oklahoma Tax Commission issued a new plate, and I figured it would be a striking design, especially given the beauty of the Sooner State's standard issue.

Oh, it's striking all right.  Strikingly similar, that is.

The new "In God We Trust" plate is nearly identical to the one Indiana issues!

Sure, the font for the "In God" slogan differs, and naturally it says Oklahoma instead of Indiana on it, but the inspiration is clear.

My 13-year-old daughter -- the artist in the family -- also tells me that the blue-to-flag background images of the two plates are nearly identical.

Anyone have an idea as to why they're so strikingly similar?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More new Indiana special plates coming in 2011

UPDATE, JUNE 2:  Beginning with this crop of new specialty plates, all special-recognition (or group) plates will be made with a white background, the group's logo to the left, and a "tag line" on the bottom of each plate where a slogan or the group's name will be located.

The Indiana BMV announced 11 new specialty plates for 2011 today (which brings the total to somewhere around 7,236, I guess ... oh, I'm just kidding ...).  I don't have pictures of the new plates yet, but here's a list (you can read the whole story at the Indianapolis Star):
  • National Rifle Association
  • Bicycle Indiana
  • Wild Turkey Habitat
  • Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent
  • Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana
  • Greenways Foundation
  • Indiana Sheriff's Association
  • Indiana Youth Institute
  • Stop Diabetes
  • Donate Life Indiana
  • Indiana Teamsters
The new plates will cost $40, with $25 of that going to the respective organizations, in addition to the normal taxes and fees.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kentucky makes a minor change

Here in Kentucky, changes to license plates in the middle of a cycle don't happen too often, so when they happen, it's something to write about.

When the current "Unbridled Spirit" plate hit the JC* series (on passenger plates), the state switched to new, narrower stamping dies that were first rolled out for special-issue plates.

That was change enough for some people, but this year there are even more changes:
  • The reflective sheeting, once supplied by 3M, is now being supplied by another company -- we believe it's Avery Dennison, although we're not 100% sure on that -- and if past experience in other states is any indication, the plates won't last as long.
  • The light blue at the bottom of each plate is brighter now, again, probably because of the switch in sheeting suppliers.
  • County stickers (on passenger plates, not pictured here) have been changed to appear more like the ones made for the 1998-2003 cloud base, although they are still white on blue.  However, they are not holding up well, tending to peel around the edges (or more) after as little as two or three months exposed to ... well ... air.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Indiana Municipal plates

Vehicles owned by a city or town, county or other local agency are licensed with Municipal plates in Indiana.  Up until a few years ago, there were a variety of different plates that served this function, but it's simpler to just make one type, so here we are.

I created the image of the Municipal plate at left on my computer.  It is pretty close to accurate (as far as I can remember), but as soon as I can get a better shot of one, I'll post that in its place.  Oh, and if you click to see the image in full size, I have NO idea where the "horns" came from on the "M" in MUNICIPAL.  The antiquated software I use sometimes does that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More on Indiana's new unique plate numbering system

UPDATE, APRIL 29:  I'm late getting this posted, but I saw a couple of new farm truck plates last weekend, and they are now green on white, with numbers in the F123AB format.  I didn't get one number, but the other one I can confirm was F717BT.

UPDATE, APRIL 10:  Motorcycle plates, also once all-numeric, are now also being reissued with new numbers; apparently they are all starting with "M," with M284D verifiable as seen here.

To answer one question that I have been asked, it appears truck plates are being left alone.  They are all-numeric, but as there are more of those than the types being replaced, my gut feeling is that their numbering system won't be changed -- if it gets changed at all -- until the next regular reissue beginning in 2013.

UPDATE, MARCH 28:  Standard trailer plates are also being replaced with plates having a new numbering system.  I saw one today but was unable to get its entire number (I was practically past it before I even noticed it on the highway).  The plates, which have blue letters and numbers on a white background, have a "TR123ABC" serial format.

I'm getting more details on Indiana's new unique plate numbering system, including one plate type that most of us probably don't think too much about:  Semi trailers.

Spotters who've reported in at say that there are still two varieties of semi trailer plates, one which is revalidated annually and the other which is permanent.
  • Those with annual expirations are numbered in the following format:  SE123ABC
  • Permanent plates are numbered as follows:  SP123ABC
I've yet to see any of the new plates on the road, but I'm sure I will before too long.

In other news, the Indianapolis Star reported last week that all plates which are getting new numbering formats will be replaced by the end of this year.  Those will include RV, handicap and most other numeric-only plates.

Those specialty plates which have small, stacked letters (which is most of them) will be replaced in 2011.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Year decals, 1982-2011

For your convenience and enjoyment, I've created a guide to Indiana's year decals, beginning with the first in 1982 and continuing through the new 2011 decal.

From 1982 to 1992, the word "PASS" is repeated twelve times behind the two-digit year; all this means, simply, is "PASSENGER."  Different decals (usually with different color schemes) were created for RV plates, handicap plates and other varieties.  Unfortunately, those are now so rare that I have no idea what they look like.

There were actually two styles of decals used for 1998; both were black on deep yellow, although the earlier style was laid out more like the 1995-97 versions. Later decals were numbered to match the plate.

As noted in the image, year decals were used in 1999, 2004 and 2009 ONLY on specialty plates, and that wasn't even universal in those years.

Indiana making all plate numbers unique, dropping small letters on specialty plates

Evansville ABC affiliate NEWS25 (WEHT-TV) reports today that the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is moving to make all license plate numbers unique.  Presently a number can appear on several different types of plates, which has caused confusion among law enforcement personnel.

In addition, specialty plates will lose their small letters, as I told you earlier this year.

Examples of the new plate numbering schemes are pictured.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

INDIANA LICENSE PLATE HISTORY TIDBIT #3 -- The story of the 1980 George Rogers Clark plate

The history of the George Rogers Clark plate is pretty much ... well, lost to history.  But its story is pretty neat, and worth retelling.

Issued in 1979, the Clark plate was the result of Indiana's first contest to design a license plate.  An article in the March 12, 1978 Evansville Sunday Courier & Press reported that 92 entries were received by state officials, who eventually chose the design submitted by William George Clark (a man with no known relation to George Rogers Clark), a retired toolmaker from Economy, Indiana.

Unlike more recent plate-design contests, Clark did receive a monetary award -- $100 -- and the number 1979 on his own plate.  Nowadays, winners get just a smile and maybe a handshake.

The 1978 article also explained that the rustic "Hoosier State" plate, which was first issued in 1981, had already been designed, but it was pushed back a year.  It had originally been intended to break cover in 1980.  That plate was the first in Indiana since 1955 to be used for more than one year.

Monday, March 1, 2010

INDIANA LICENSE PLATE HISTORY TIDBIT #2 -- Why plates ending in "9" and "0" were in high demand in '69

During the first week of January 1969, vehicle owners flocked to their nearest license branch, demanding plate numbers ending in "9" and "0," a phenomenon never seen before or since.

Why the sudden burning desire to have one of those two numbers?

Credit is due Indiana's then-new and long since repealed vehicle safety inspection law, which determined when a vehicle had to be inspected by the last digit of the license plate number.

You can read the Jan. 2, 1969 article from the now-defunct Evansville Press for the full details, but here's how it played out:
  • Motorists whose plates ended with "1" or "2" had to get their inspection done on or before March 31.
  • Plates ending in "3," "4" and "5" were due on April 30.
  • Plates ending in "6," "7" and "8" had to be inspected by May 31.
  • Finally, the "9" and "0" plates were due by June 30.
So there you go.  The "9" and "0" plates were popular among procrastinators!

And now you know ... the rest of the story!
NEXT TIME:  Find out the history behind the 1980 Indiana license plate which honored George Rogers Clark.  I'll even give you the name of the plate's designer!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

INDIANA LICENSE PLATE HISTORY TIDBIT #1 -- How the 1963 switch to county numbers almost didn't work out

In June 1962, the then-commissioner of Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Allen Nutting, announced that the state's 1963 plates would be all-numeric, with either the first digit or first two digits determining the county in which a particular plate was issued.

But we know today that there were no all-numeric plates issued for 1963.

There's a reason for that.

According to an article in the June 19, 1962 Evansville Press, Nutting backpedaled on the all-numeric plate idea because, when the punch cards were run through the bureau's rudimentary computers, the machines couldn't distinguish between the numbers 5 2345 (a plate meant for Blackford County) and 52 345 (a plate to be issued in Miami County).

It didn't take a machine to figure out that wasn't going to work.

Thus the bureau added what they called "an alphabetical branch prefix" -- a letter -- between the county number and the plate number.  In Spencer County, that meant plates issued at the Rockport branch began with "74A" and those issued at the Dale branch began with "74B."

And now you know a little more about Indiana plate history than you did before.

NEXT TIME:  Find out why plates ending with "9" and "0" were hot commodities in Indiana in 1969!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A sighting ...

Last night, while I was out running errands, I found myself behind a new Chrysler Town & Country bearing a new 2010 Kentucky dealer plate.

What caught my eye about the plate was the new dies.  Until this year, Kentucky's dealer plates had continued to use the type of dies first used in late 1962, but now it appears that eventually all Kentucky plate types will be changed over to the dies introduced in 2008.

I find it interesting that the 1962-style dies lasted for 48 years, while the other "new" dies, first used in 1988, were phased out after 20.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A few more new ones from around the country that have caught my eye

Here are a few more new plate designs that you'll be seeing on the roads this year:
The Kansas "KU FANS" plate at right is the state's new vanity (sometimes called personalized) plate design, which will be issued through 2015.
The New Mexico Centennial plate (center right) is New Mexico's new standard plate, which marks the upcoming 100th anniversary of statehood.
The Tulsa Zoo plate from Oklahoma (bottom right) is an optional plate, the proceeds from which benefit the zoo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New special-issue plates for 2010

Indiana has a few new special-issue plates for 2010 (they'll be dated "11," as their first expiration will come in 2011).  You'll note that unlike other special plates, these are numbered in an AA9999 format, but without the stacked letters, which many find difficult to read at a distance.

I've got images of the new plates at left, and they are, in order of appearance:

This plate benefits the Richmond college that was founded by the Quakers in 1847.  Its additional cost includes a $25 group fee and a $15 administrative fee.
May be used on cars, motorcycles, trucks to 11,000 pounds, and RVs.

The Gold Star Family plate is available to spouses, parents, siblings and children of those who died while serving in the military, including all those on active duty, in the Reserves or the National Guard.  Family members are required to submit a DD1300 form from the Department of Defense, but there are no additional fees for this plate; only standard registration fees and taxes apply.
May be used on cars, trucks up to 11,000 pounds, and RVs.

The Prisoner Of War-Missing In Action license plate was sponsored by Indiana Rolling Thunder.  It honors all Hoosier veterans who are missing in action or listed as prisoners of war. Proceeds from this plate go to the Veterans Assistance Trust Fund established by the General Assembly in 2007 to assist veterans and their families in times of financial hardship.  In addition to standard fees and taxes, this plate has a $25 group fee and an administrative fee of $15.
May be used on cars, motorcycles, trucks to 11,000 pounds, and RVs.

This plate -- as you'd expect, given its name -- benefits the Indiana Blood Center.  An additional charge of $25 for the IBC and $15 for administrative fees applies.
May be used on cars, motorcycles, trucks to 11,000 pounds, and RVs.

INCASA ("End Violence Together")
The End Violence Together plate benefits the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  It carries a $25 group fee and a $15 administrative fee.
May be used on cars, motorcycles, trucks to 11,000 pounds, and RVs.

Proceeds from this plate benefit the Autism Society of America in Indiana.  As with the other organizations' plates, this plate has a $25 group fee and a $15 administrative fee.
May be used on cars, motorcycles, trucks to 11,000 pounds, and RVs.

Friday, January 8, 2010

UPDATED: Making some changes

Indiana has evidently changed the numbering system for some plates beginning this year.

The BMV's website shows a new format for disabled, disabled veteran and RV plates beginning with the 2011 expiration cycle.  Until this year, those plate types were on a straight numeric system.  Now, however, it looks like plate numbers will be laid out as shown in the images at left.

It'll be a few months before I see any RV plates around, as we won't start traveling through Indiana in our rig until late March at the very earliest.  Disabled plates should already be filtering out.

Interestingly, the samples shown have the "11" year on the plate itself, not as a sticker.  It remains to be seen if that's going to be the case in the field.

One other note:  These plates, as well as the new POW-MIA and Gold Star Family plates now reaching license branches, all display the recycled symbol I mentioned a few months ago.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Truck plates 1994-2008: Changes

Beginning with the 1994 issue (released in 1993), Indiana finally went to a five-year plate replacement cycle for trucks.

The only downside to this is that truck plates tend to get the living daylights beaten out of them, so after five years, they're sometimes pretty rough-looking.

Style notes to mention:  The state name resembles that used on the 1994-98 "Amber Waves of Grain" plate.

Beginning with the 2004-08 issue, truck plates began to follow their passenger counterparts in going flat, although most early plates were still stamped.  My gut feeling is that it's going to be very difficult to find flat truck plates that are worth saving after five years.  They're so thin and flimsy that I can't imagine them holding up that long.