|State and police oppose new license plate proposal|
|Written by Mason Souza, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Sunday, 31 January 2010 21:36|
A new law proposed in Illinois and sponsored by State Rep. Jerry Mitchell would only require drivers to have a rear license plate on their vehicles.
The law, which would make Illinois the 20th state to not require front plates, faces opposition from the Secretary of State’s office and some Illinois police officers.
“The concept, which has come up over the last several years, is one that we oppose,” spokesperson for the Secretary of State, Henry Haupt, said.
Though the law is estimated to save the state $700,000 to $1 million per year, Haut said the amount saved is not worth it.
“We’re very mindful of the budget situation, but we just don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Haupt broke down the costs of license plate production.
“Currently, to make a set of license plates with materials, labor and everything is $2.59,” he said.
The cost of making only one plate is $1.99, according to Haupt.
“The majority of the cost is in labor, not in materials,” he said.
The Secretary of State’s office is opposed to the law because they feel it affects safety and law enforcement.
“We want to do everything we can to help relieve the burden on taxpayers,” Haupt said. “But there are some things you don’t want to cut corners on.”
Capt. Scott Compton, chief public information officer for the Illinois State Police, said he opposes the law as well.
“As a law-enforcement agency, we would prefer that drivers have a front and rear license plate,” he said.
It is difficult to tell how the law would affect crime in the state.
“I don’t know that we’d be able to point to any statistics that would show an increased rate in crime,” Compton said.
Dave White, public affairs officer for Bloomington Police, agreed, but said he would prefer the law to not pass.
“I don’t think it’s going to make the state less safe,” he said.
White said that although officers most often follow cars from behind, there are times when they meet the vehicle and look at the front plate
“There’s lots of reasons we want that license plate up front so we can identify that driver,” he said. “If I can’t get turned around because of the traffic flow, I can’t see that [front] license plate.”
Compton said situations like these are where changes would be made.
“Our officers would adapt to it,” he said. “We would be able to use other methods.”
Compton said that giving clearer descriptions of vehicles and using angles that give a view of the rear plate are ways the officers could compensate.
White said he would eventually adapt to the law as well.
“If it were adopted and made law we would have to live with it,” he said. “Other than that there’s really nothing else you can do.”