Discussing a New Style for License Plates

For now it is 71 for St. Joseph County and 20 for Elkhart for the first two numbers on your license plate.

The BMV wants to change the way Hoosiers get their license plates but the idea hit a speed bump at the statehouse.

You can always tell what county someone in Indiana is from just by looking at the first two numbers on their license plate

Now, by the end of the year, over 60-percent of plates on the road will not have that.

Specialty plates have replaced traditional license plates and now, the BMV wants to do away with them altogether.

"A cost savings of approximately a million dollars a year, as we reduce inventory costs too," says BMV Commissioner, Ron Stiver.

The customer choices program pilot that begins this summer allows you to purchase your plate at one of 18 car dealerships as well as some banks and some motor clubs.

The catch is that those locations do not have room for almost a hundred different license plates but they do have room for one license plate and 92 stickers.

"It provides customers with more convenience. More places to go to conduct BMV transactions. On the other hand it also takes volume out of the branches," says Stiver.

Lewisville Representative Tom Saunders says, "Under my amendment it just requires them to put the county prefix on there like it is today."

Lawmakers in the House are not impressed and voted for an amendment that would require the BMV to keep the old plates.

"The number one purpose for that license plate is for the use of law enforcement. If you are trying to track down somebody and they have a long series of numbers all they have to do is read the first two numbers and they can decide to disregard that number cause I am looking for 49 and not 48," says Pendleton Representative Scott Reske.

The BMV says Indiana state police, the sheriff's association and chiefs of police have all endorsed the idea county designation is required by law on Indiana license plates.

However a sticker showing the county's name fulfills that and it would also allow the BMV to diversify branches and help eliminate the long lines that have haunted them for decades.

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