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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Why Does New York Have Two License Plates?

New York was the first state in the United States to register motor vehicles. The registration plates in New York are significant for driving on public roads and highways. Besides, it helps identify the vehicle, its user, and the owner.

The law of having two number plates for a single vehicle running through the streets exists. In this blog, the Law Office of Carl Maltese team presents a complete guide on the license plates in the state of New York.

What Is a License Plate?

What Is a License Plate?

License plates are a necessity for all vehicles running on public streets. They comprise a unique combination and series of alphabets, letters, numbers, symbols, or mottos. These are often associated with the history of a particular region.

The prime use of the license plate involves identifying the rightful owner and details of both the owner and the vehicle. These can also help the police trace the individual's address as the need arises.

Overall, the license plates vary from state to state. It is the state government that determines them based on specific unique characteristics. Here are a few kinds of license plates that are usually observed:

  • Temporary registration license plates

  • Customized or personalized license plates

  • Standard license plates

Why Are License Plates Necessary?

License plates are an integral part of driving. They help in identifying the vehicle and determining the location to which it belongs. Moreover, the unique combination on the license plate can provide complete information about the vehicle, such as the registration date, owner, or address.

It is helpful for the traffic police in apprehending those who violate traffic rules or those involved in an accident, a crime, or illegal driving.

Why Do the NY State Vehicles Have Two License Plates?

The state of New York has made it necessary to have two license plates installed- one at the front and the other at the back to ensure easier visibility of the vehicle's license plate number. It also helps get details regarding the vehicle and its owner in case the police need them.

How Can an Individual Get a License Plate in New York?

NY DMV licenses are direct proof that the vehicle has undergone testing; hence, the department has given the registered user the legal right to drive their vehicle. Similarly, the license plates prove that the state has permitted the vehicle to run on public roads and that it has been registered with the state of New York.

Moreover, it denotes that the vehicle is liable to follow and comply with the current driving laws implied in the area.

The steps to get a license plate may vary from state to state. The Department of Motor Vehicles issues the license plate in New York. It is also responsible for the procession, renewal, replacement, and transfer of car tags.

First, the department provides the required forms to be filled out for further inspection. Following this, the applicant must submit standard documents like a completed registration application, driving license (Want to know how long do points stay on your license in New York?), and insurance card for verification. The department issues a license plate only after successfully verifying all these documents.

What Are the Types of License Plates in New York?

Depending on the vehicle registered, the driver can choose to apply from different license plates issued by the department of motor vehicles in New York. Here are a few common types of license plates applicable in New York:

  • Temporary Driving License Plate: These are issued by the vehicle dealer from which the user has bought the vehicle.

  • Basic Car Registration Plate: These are issued by the DMV issues and are permanent car tags sent by mail to the owner after two weeks of registration. The standard car plate used in New York is the Empire Gold plate - Golden background with navy blue lettering.

  • Personalized/Customized License Plate: The department issues them per the driver's customization instructions.

  • Accessible Parking Plate: DMV issues these for people with disability or those who are especially challenged.


For legal guidance, contact a Long Island motor vehicle accident lawyer at The Law Office of Carl Maltese.

An individual in New York must abide by all traffic laws, rules, and regulations applicable for hassle-free driving on public roads. That includes being aware of matters such as the legality of doing something like driving an ATV on the road in New York. In case of any issue with the licensing and traffic laws, a person must seek legal help from an established law firm.


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