Occupations on license plates

Why do car dealers get special license plates that say “dealer” under the plate number? Military veterans have them too. Here in Louisiana, even college professers get special plates. And the one that REALLY gets me - ham radio operator. WTF? What makes these occupations so special that they get to display them on their plates? Why can’t a doctor, lawyer, or porno store employee display his occupation on his plate? Or could he, if he made a big enough stink about it?

In Ohio, “theme” plates are produced when either the DMV decides to do it to get people to spend the extra few bucks, or somebody, such as a state legislator, asks them too. Occasionally there will be a minor public flap when some idjit lawmaker tries to get the DMV to produce a pro-life plate.

WAG, but I think the “dealer” plates are temporary. A Chevy salesman used to live down the street from my folks, and he used to bring a new car home every week, presumably to get a feel for the latest lemons, and he always had dealer plates. Around here, the salesmen also have have a black rubber suction-cup plateholder thingie that they slap of the back of the car when take it for a test drive.

On the other hand, they might be so the junkies will know which cars to flag down for a score…

From what I’ve seen in California and Texas, “dealer” plates are sort of a separate category from all the others. California has no shortage of strange variety license plates, but the only one that really advertises an occupation is firefighters. Check it out: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/images/elp/elp.htm

Dealer plates seem to mean something else, but I’ve never figured out what. Sort of in the same way that state-owned cars get “E-plates” and limousines get “Livery” plates (in CA)- this involves some special kind of registration and not just vanity on the part of the owner.

Do car salesmen put dealer plates on their personal automobiles? Why does anyone care that this person sells cars for a living? Are car salesmen considered sufficiently dangerous that they must advertise themselves as such even when they’re not working? :slight_smile:

Dealer (and, at least here in Connecticut, Repair) plates aren’t tagged to a particular car. They can be used on any vehicle. It’s not a matter of advertising your profession. It’s a special type of plate used by people who have a need to drive large numbers of otherwise unregistered cars for short periods of time. The obvious, and common, misuse is for the plate owner to use them on his personal car for long periods of time to avoid registration fees and taxes. Also handy if you are into older cars that have to be inspected before they can be registered. Just slap that Repair plate on yer 1961 'vette and drive without being pestered by the cops and the DMV.

When I lived in New York City, 35 years ago, doctor’s had their own plates. The plates had MD on the end of the number. This usually allowed the driver to park at fire hydrants and bus stops as the assumption was that they were on a house call. Remember those?

I am a Ham radio operator and in Missouri where I live now, I pay $35 extra each year to have my call sign on my plates. This allows other hams to recognize me as well as make it easier for me to access areas where hams are providing emergency communications services.

The state is glad to have the $35 too.


Texas has more custom plate designs than any state I’ve seen. You can check 'em out here. I mean, honestly, it’s been almost 60 years, how many Pearl Harbor survivors does Texas even have?

Cripes, I had no idea there was a Parks and Wildlife plate with a horned lizard on it…anyway, the plate I have is the “And Justice For All”; since I’m in law school, it seemed appropriate.