Originally Posted by Vew
Never understood the point of them. Seems like every out of state vehicle around here that has one, it's all banged up anyway. Must get in the way a lot too.
Here's why we must have them in CA (CA veh. code sect. and my humble opinion):
5200. (a) When two license plates are issued by the department for
use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which
they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear.
(b) When only one license plate is issued for use upon a vehicle,
it shall be attached to the rear thereof, unless the license plate is
issued for use upon a truck tractor, in which case the license plate
shall be displayed in accordance with Section 4850.5.
5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the
vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from
swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible,
and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible.
The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor
more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate
shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground, except as
The rest consists of special cases for rear plates on different types of vehicles. Anyway, key words in sect. 5201 are "securely fastened", "mounted", "clearly visible", and "clearly legible." Unfortunately, if you have an understanding of legalese, you will realize that the addition of the word "clearly" automatically creates a situation where the enforcement of the law will be based on the peace officer's judgement. If I were a peace officer (in CA) I could easily defend that a plate in the front window may be within the height requirement, but is not "clearly" visible or "clearly" legible (windows can give off a glare both during the day and at night).
As a teenager, I was once pulled over for having no front plate (only). He used it as an opportunity to "hunt" for anything else he could. After 20 minutes of politely and respectfully putting up with his intimidation BS, he finally gave up on me. That was the moment I decided that running without a front plate was only an invitation to CA law enforcement personnel to develop a more personal relationship with me.
In CA, I really don't envision the law changing. The businesses that run the red light cameras hold more clout with government officials than any group of petitioners would in my opinion. Additionally, with newer cars having less vertical flat surfaces, a reflective CA front license plate makes a great target for law enforcement officers to point the laser gun at.
That being said, I wish the best to the citizens of Washington State with this license plate removal petition!