Front License Plates are Required

The in basket: Terri Herstad asks about the need to have a license plate on the front of one’s vehicle.
“My husband purchased his car from a dealer in Tacoma and it had no license plate on the front of the car,” she said. “This car was a trade-in from another state where front plates aren’t required.
“When he asked them to install the plate onto the front, the dealer told him to leave it on the front dash. The dealer said this was perfectly legal. Since then, both my husband and I have been pulled over several times for the front plate not being mounted onto the front of the car.
“Are front plates required to be mounted on the front of the car?


The in basket: Terri Herstad asks about the need to have a license plate on the front of one’s vehicle.
“My husband purchased his car from a dealer in Tacoma and it had no license plate on the front of the car,” she said. “This car was a trade-in from another state where front plates aren’t required.
“When he asked them to install the plate onto the front, the dealer told him to leave it on the front dash. The dealer said this was perfectly legal. Since then, both my husband and I have been pulled over several times for the front plate not being mounted onto the front of the car.
“We have inquired with several dealerships (including where the car came from) and specialty screw shops. We are repeatedly told a dealer will not install the plate or sell the screws to us if we didn’t purchase the car there. Specialty screw shops have told us the screws are proprietary to vehicles and they don’t sell them; we have to go to a dealer.
“Are front plates required to be mounted on the front of the car? If they are, why are we receiving such difficulty from dealers about this and why are we not able to obtain screws?”
The out basket: Brad Benfield of the Department of Licensing says, “License plates are indeed required to be mounted to the front and back of cars and trucks. There are exceptions for motorcycles, trailers, vehicles with collector plates, etc. But leaving the plate on the dashboard behind the windshield is not legal. State law requires the plate to be mounted at the front and the rear.”
Terri says the dealership that sold them the car has refused to put the front plate on or sell them the screws needed to do it themselves. I didn’t pursue the reasons for such an odd refusal, but Terri said she’ll take Brad’s response to the dealer and try to change their minds.

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