2020 Bills

SB 85: No Front License Plate? Now You’ll Be Pulled Over

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Update: Senator Sandall has notified us that he will not be advancing this bill during this legislative session.

Under current law, Utahns are required to mount a front and rear license plate on their vehicle. According to state officials, approximately one-in-five cars on Utah roads do not have a plate on the front of their vehicle.

The current law specifies that violation of this law is only a secondary offense, meaning that it cannot be the primary purpose for which a person is pulled over by a police officer. Senator Scott Sandall is proposing Senate Bill 85, which would make this a primary offense.

This means that law enforcement would now have a reason to pull over 1/5 of Utah drivers at their discretion, simply because they do not have a front license plate. This gives them an opportunity to potentially search for items in the vehicle, including cash or contraband, pursue civil asset forfeiture, and generate significant revenue for the government from the infraction fines that would be charged.

We favor legislation that repeals the requirement to have a front license plate, as one is sufficient for identification by law enforcement. Further, the widespread non-compliance with the current law gives far too broad of discretion to the government to begin enforcing this as a primary offense to pull people over and potentially cause other altercations.

  • Keith Stout

    Two things about this. First there are a few vehicles that do not have a place for the front license plate to be mounted and would require the owners to use self tapping screws to install them. This could lead to damages to wiring that may be hidden just behind the front bumper cover for things like fog lights or collision avoidance systems. Then, also consider that dealers only get one dealer plate to attach to a vehicle to use for transporting, test-driving and otherwise moving the vehicle.

    • Jake

      so then if that’s the case that they aren’t aiming at generating revenue then why isn’t there a provision in it where it will be basically just like the fix it tickets and doesn’t allow for monetary gain from the tickets for the state just warnings if fixed with in a reasonable time frame. Oh wait it is.

      • Dalton De Rosier

        I fully agree with you on this and then there’s also people that buy new bumpers and don’t want to drill holes because they bought that new bumper for an expensive paint job

  • Kuerno

    They say, “jump”, you say, “How high”? United States of Boot-Lickers.

    • Jim S

      Who is saying “how high”? I don’t see Libertas doing that.

  • Samson McGinnis

    This is completely ridiculous front license plate law being proposed and needs to be abolished. This is only for automated camera systems etc. to quickly identify vehicles. I have mostly custom vehicles and am not screwing a license plate onto the front of my vehicle. Some vehicles like my F350 I have one on but should not be a law requiring us to do so!

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