Ask a Trooper: New license plates every seven years

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“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I read your last article on rear license plate lamps and the display of license plates, and this got me wondering as I went to renew my registration the other day. They gave me new license plates and said they do this every seven years. Why is that?

Answer: Good question. Under Minnesota State Statute 168.12 states: “Plates issued for passenger automobiles must be issued for a seven-year period. All plates issued under this paragraph must be replaced if they are seven years old or older at the time of registration renewal or will become so during the registration period.”

The replacement is in part due to the safety reflectorization required for the plate. It’s required that Minnesota license plates be readable from 110 feet and be visible from a vehicle equipped with normal headlights at 1,500 feet. The reflective materials in the plate sheeting degrade over time and are warranted for five years, but seven year replacements are less interruptive. Minnesota’s challenging environment stresses the plate’s sheeting and reflectorization, and those in rural areas are subjected to additional strains. The replacement also helps reduce registration tax avoidance.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at [email protected].)



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