Bill to remove front license plates passes Ohio House

COLUMBUS, Ohio-- The battle lines appear drawn as Ohio once again considers whether to remove the requirement that vehicles in the state have front license plates.

Nineteen states, including all five that border Ohio, do not require a front plate.

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to remove the front plate requirement as part of a larger transportation bill that now goes to the state Senate.

The provision has bi-partisan support. Backers said it would make buying and selling cars easier and it would recognize the changing landscape of automotive design. Those changes include more cameras in the front of vehicles, and more aerodynamic designs - especially for electric cars where the power source is often in the rear of the car. Right now, if you buy a car from a state that only requires a back plate, you may need to drill holes in the front to mount a plate in Ohio.

But opponents said having a front plate doubles the chance that law enforcement will catch criminals.

"It is a valuable tool," said Staff Lt. Craig Cvetan, with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Lt. Cvetan said the front plate can be important in many different types of situations: from school bus drivers catching the plate number of drivers blowing past them when they are offloading children, to having business or personal surveillance cameras capture the plate number of a robber or burglar. He added that criminals are often fleeing a scene as police approach and a generic description of a vehicle may not help.

"How many red Ford pickups are there?" Cvetan said. "The license plate information is the one unique thing (on a vehicle)."

It is important to remember that, right now, it is illegal to drive in Ohio without a front plate, and you can be cited for it. Whether that remains the case will depend on if this bill passes the Senate, and is signed into law by the governor.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.