Illinois introduced specialty plates as a way to allow vehicle owners to donate to a special fund and display their support for an organization or a cause. The program is so popular that Illinois has more than 100 different specialty plates. And that's a problem.
Secretary of State Press Secretary Dave Druker said police officers have a difficult time keeping track of the glut of specialty plates on Illinois roads. “They had concerns with how many specialty license plates, even though they’re wonderful causes, how many plates had been created by the General Assembly. We’re up to 109 different types of plates.”
And so a new law went into effect July 1 to have future specialty plates use a universal style. Each plate will have space for a decal highlighting the organization or cause. The new plate is still being designed.
One measure awaiting the governor’s signature would allow for a Veterans’ Homes Fund specialty plate.
Druker said existing plates are grandfathered in, including sports-themed plates. .
“Since they were created in 2011 they’ve generated $4.3 million for public education in Illinois, so that’s been a very favorable thing. People will still be able to get that plate with those sports teams' designs on them.”
Also on the governor’s desk are measures that allow motorcycle-sized memorial plates for firefighters and Police and a motorcycle-sized plate commemorating Illinois Route 66. Regular-sized plates already exist for those three things.
It’s not a new plate, but another measure on the governor’s desk would allow the spouse of a deceased military service member to retain military oriented speical plates.