Finally, Utah’s new retro black specialty license plate hits the streets

Jun 13, 2023, 10:23 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2023, 1:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Two years ago, we spoke to Marc Briggs – a car owner frustrated he could not get a Utah specialty plate with a retro black look for his pickup truck.

“It’s attractive on a vehicle,” he told us at the time.

By law, he has been entitled to outfit his truck with the plate. Five years ago, lawmakers passed a bill that required the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles to design a license plate with a black background, white lettering, and include the word, “Utah.”

But when car owners asked the DMV for that plate, for years, they were rebuffed.

“This is what is supposed to happen,” Briggs said about getting the black license plates. “The bill was crystal clear on that. And to just make the choice to not follow the law that has been passed doesn’t seem right.”

Gephardt: Conflicting Laws Jam Plans For Black Utah License Plates

At long last, that retro plate is finally coming to Utah.

“The legislative process can be slow,” said Jason Gardner, the DMV’s director of policy, planning and public affairs.

The issue, he said, is that issuing black plates broke a different Utah law.

“There was a conflict in the law that required a fully reflective plate face,” Gardner explained. “And black, by its very nature, is not reflective.”

And reflective is important. Without it, law enforcement has a harder time doing its job such as tracking down stolen cars. So, what changed? Well, the Utah Legislature passed a new law stating the plate does not need to be reflective — just the letters and the numbers on the plate.

“Which is really important part,” Gardner said. “That’s what people need to see. That’s what matters on the license plate. And because of that change, the letters are going to be white, which is easily made reflective. And we’re all ready to go.”

Ready to go, indeed. In the weeks since the plate hit the street, the DMV said it has seen tons of people requesting one. And people opting for the retro black plate will make an annual donation to the Utah State Historical Society at $25 per year.

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Finally, Utah’s new retro black specialty license plate hits the streets