Good Question: How many tickets for drivers breaking license plate law?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This Good Question is something you’ve probably seen before, perhaps you will today.

Cars and trucks will be out on the road, with just one license plate or maybe none at all. Are police even stopping drivers for breaking that law?

A viewer named Tom asked News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: Why are there SO MANY cars on the road with no front license plate, and a New York plate on the back? New York State DMV says you need both to be legal. Why do the Police turn a blind eye to this? I’ll bet 5% of the cars I see have no front plate. Some even have an empty plate holder!

Let’s start with the law.

It clearly states you must have "one on the front and one on the rear" of a vehicle. Your plates also have to be clear to see and they can’t be higher than 48 inches or lower than a foot from the ground.

Somers also found this page with the NYS DMV laying out the rules.

It states:

"If the DMV issues two vehicle plates for your vehicle, you must use both vehicle plates. Put one vehicle plate on the front of the vehicle and one vehicle plate on the back of the vehicle. There are no exemptions to this requirement."

The State Police and other law enforcement agencies recommend that vehicles display two vehicle plates. The two-vehicle plates help the police to identify vehicles. In addition, New York State vehicle plates are reflective and the two-vehicle plates improve the visibility of your vehicle at night.

If you use one vehicle plate instead of two vehicle plates, you can receive a traffic ticket and pay a fine and surcharge.

If there is only one location on your vehicle to attach a vehicle plate, contact an auto parts store for a device to attach the other vehicle plate. The DMV issues one vehicle plate for some vehicles. These vehicles include trailers, motorcycles, and the tractor unit of a tractor-trailer.

Let’s now address the other most talked about the issue with NY plates—old peeling tags.

You can get replacements from the DMV for free as long as your tags aren’t damaged and if you’re fine with getting a new number. There are different options to do this through the mail or online.

How much are these rules enforced?

Somers asked RPD and Monroe County deputies for numbers from 2019, the last full normal year for traffic. They issued about 700 tickets combined for license plate issues. Rochester Police gave out 290 tickets and MCSO issued 403.

Were those all for people driving with one or no tags? No.

That section of state traffic law covers everything plate-related. This tally is a combination of no plates, a single tag, dirty plates, having it covered up, etc.

You can be fined up to $200 for violations.