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Why are some North Carolina license plates blue and some red?

Ken Little

In April 2007, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles began a makeover of license plates, initiated to remove old and fading plates from the highway to ensure readability by law enforcement, N.C. DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell said.

“The division could not change the plate design, which is mandated by the legislature, so it changed the color of the type on the plates. The new color was approved by law enforcement as being legible,” Howell said. “By March 2009, the division returned to printing all numbers and letters on the plates in blue based on customer and law enforcement comments that they are easier to read.”

The DMV estimates that 95 percent of the remaining red plates have already been dispensed by local license plate agencies.

“The few red plates left will be given out until they are all used so as not to waste any of the product. For over a year, nothing but blue plates have been printed,” Howell said.

Related links:

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I saw a car with a flat license plate, without the raised letters punched into it. Was it valid?

Can registered vehicles in North Carolina still have an out-of-state license plate on the front bumper?

What became of Wilmington city tags for cars?

When will the state offer a specialty license plate featuring the lighthouse on Bald Head Island, “Old Baldy”?

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