Elliott wants to eliminate front license plate - The Frederick News-Post Online
Elliott wants to eliminate front license plate
Originally published March 05, 2010
By Meg Tully
Bill Baisey Kia
ANNAPOLIS -- Drivers would need only one license plate per vehicle under a bill proposed by state lawmakers.
Delegate Donald Elliott, a Republican who represents portions of Frederick and Carroll counties, is the lead sponsor of the measure.
If passed, Maryland would join 21 states, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, in requiring only a rear license plate.
The bill would phase in the use of one plate as people get new plates.
According to the Department of Legislative Services, the change would save the state $518,700 in the next fiscal year, and $719,700 by fiscal 2015.
"They're looking for ways to save additional monies -- they ought to be looking at something like this," Elliott said.
But the chairwoman of the committee considering the bill said objections from police and state toll workers may be too great to overcome.
The Environmental Matters Committee probably will vote on the measure next week, Chairwoman Maggie McIntosh said.
"Even though it seems like a very good idea and a lot of places do it, I think the objections are still there," McIntosh said. "But we have not yet voted on it."
Maryland State Police testified that the two-plate requirement has helped law enforcement solve crimes when witnesses or security cameras catch one of the plates.
The second plate is also important for state agencies that depend on cameras, McIntosh said, whether that be for toll collection, red-light cameras or speed cameras.
The Maryland Transportation Authority uses video images of the fronts and backs of cars to catch people who fail to pay tolls using cash or E-ZPass.
Even with photos of both plates, the MTA was unable to read plate numbers on about 700,000 of 2.4 million missed payments. That resulted in about $3.5 million of missed toll payments last year.
Elliott thinks the concerns of police and transit authority personnel are unfounded.
He contacted transportation officials and police in other states and was told the single plates made no difference to public safety or toll collection.
He asked about toll facilities specifically in Pennsylvania, Florida and New Mexico, and was told having one plate was not an issue with collection.
Likewise, police told him there was no discernible difference.
"I don't think they have a very valid argument," Elliott said. "(Committee members) can agree with them year after year after year, and in my view, they're agreeing with them without
Click the link to read the full story.