OSHP, school districts weigh in on proposal to remove front license plates


    (WKEF/WRGT)

    DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The front license plate debate is taking off in Ohio.

    School districts and law enforcement are weighing in on a provision that would drop the state's requirement of front plates.

    Troy City Schools decided to add external cameras to their buses a little over a year ago after drivers were failing to stop when school buses stopped.

    "This side camera allows us to catch those front license plates of cars that run our red stop lights up here,” Superintendent Chris Piper said. “When these lights are flashing, cars should stop. When they don’t, this allows us to capture them."

    Piper said bus drivers are required to report people who run their bus stop lights. This school year, the cameras have helped capture 58 confirmed reports of drivers who've run Troy school bus stop lights.

    “Those are for the license plates we can get,” he added. “That doesn’t include cars that we couldn’t get a plate number for, so that number would be significantly higher.”

    The district is concerned they'll catch a lot less if the state removes the requirement for a front license plate. It's a provision in the transportation bill that's currently moving through the state legislature.

    “It would severely diminish our ability to find out who it was,” Piper said.

    It's not just bus drivers who are concerned about the provision in the bill. Ohio State Highway Patrol Staff Lt. Craig Cvetan said front plates are critical for troopers and the public to report plates of oncoming traffic and suspects fleeing a scene.

    He said front plates also increase the chances the plate numbers are captured on surveillance cameras.

    "Having that front license plate, that significantly increases the probability the camera is going to capture that valuable information and help officers get an apprehension of the theft, or the assault, or the homicide,” he said.

    “I’m not putting a front plate on it, marking up my paint, making it look bad," Rick Farinacci said. “I have a plate on the back.”

    Farinacci is one of many who don't like the idea of having a front plate.

    “When I was in Arizona, as far as I know, they’ve never had front plates," he said. "It saves them a fortune."

    The BMV said assuming the price of the license plate doesn't change, eliminating the front plate would save the state about $1.7 million.

    The transportation bill with the front license plate provision has passed the Ohio House and now needs to be approved by the Ohio Senate, which could make changes.

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