Why eliminating front license plates in New Jersey makes sense


Earlier this summer, New Jersey announced a measure to help save New Jerseyans money if they need to renew their driver’s license. Free driver’s license renewals certainly sound like something we can all embrace (you can read more about this change by clicking here).

Now yes, this change had more to do with the current situation of how expensive things are. So on that note, it’s a great gesture from the state to do this and help us save a few bucks. For those of us who have to renew, of course.

Unfortunately, the government of New Jersey is also very predictable, and we all know we’re going to end up paying for it one way or another. And even if it doesn’t end up being the case, we’ve all learned to become paranoid and tired of not trusting our government every time it does something good for us.

But that’s a topic for another day. By bringing it back on the roads, it’s a good thing to be able to save money on not having to pay for the renewal of a driver’s license. In fact, anytime we can save a little money here and there is always a good thing.

However, this does not necessarily help the long-term operating costs of MVC. At some point, we’ll need more practical ideas to help keep the savings going and keep license renewals free. Or better yet, to get rid of those ridiculous registration renewal fees every two years.

That said, there is one idea the state should seriously consider. Why not reduce the number of license plates required on our cars from two to one? Most states in the country do, so why not us?

Red and blue lights of the police car at night. Night patrol in the city. Abstract blurred image.


One of the reasons we keep two plates on our vehicles is to help law enforcement identify vehicles. If a situation were to arise, it is easier for the police to know who owns the vehicle.

But times have also changed considerably since this was enacted in 1925. At the time, it made perfect sense. But with today’s digital world, the practice of having two plates on a car seems a bit antiquated.

Not to mention how much it costs to make two plates instead of one. If New Jersey reduced the number of plates required on all vehicles, it might significantly lower the manufacturing cost per vehicle. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Trailers, for example, only have one tag now, so the savings wouldn’t be exactly 50%, but pretty close.

Dmitry Melnikov

Dmitry Melnikov

And with such savings, the state might be able to offset all of these fees that we currently pay for registration by eliminating them or significantly reducing the price of some of the registration categories.

Or, if New Jerseyans really wanted it, maybe some of those savings could be used to move away from the boring yellow plates we now have in favor of something with more life.

Other states with unique labels on the back often only add more, making them stand out more while showing state pride. There are so many things unique to New Jersey that would brighten up our plates.

Photo illustration Townsquare Media (romanbabakin)

Photo illustration Townsquare Media (romanbabakin)

What about the North, South and even central Jersey plates? Or, what if we did something per county as a standard? Yes, we now have specialty plates, but by eliminating the need for faceplates this could perhaps become a free option for many.

But of course I think most people in Jersey would be fine with saving on fees. But even if that didn’t happen, the MVC would still save money by doing that, and they could use their savings to improve the services they offer. Anything that allows this state to work more efficiently is certainly a good thing.

Photo courtesy of Jim Moini

Photo courtesy of Jim Moini

Look, we all know tolls don’t go anywhere. The promise of toll free roads has gone the way of the dodo and we are paying much more now than when toll roads were opened to the public. If we’re stuck with this, then at least help us save some money by eliminating the front plates.

Back when it became mandatory in 1925, it made a lot of sense. But with the advancements in technology since then, maybe now is the time to get rid of this outdated practice and stop wasting money on something we don’t need. Just get rid of the front plates and let’s move on already.

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