Vehicle registration plates of Indiana

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The U.S. state of Indiana first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display government-provided license plates in 1913, with the law taking effect on July 1 of that year. In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the Automobile Manufacturers Association that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles, except those for motorcycles, at six inches in height by twelve inches in width, with standardized mounting holes. The 1955 (dated 1956) issue was the first Indiana license plate that complied with these standards

Passenger plates 1915 to present[edit]

ImageFirst issuedDescriptionSloganSerial formatSerials issuedNotes
Indiana 1915 64097.jpg1915Green lettering on pink base
Indiana 1919 108660.jpg1919White lettering on black base
Indiana 1925 294-519.jpg1925Maroon lettering on tan base
Indiana 1927 321-934.jpg1927White lettering on black base
Indiana 1933 182 734.jpg1933White lettering on maroon base
Indiana 1935 174 554.jpg1935Black lettering on light green base
Indiana 1938 185 649.jpg1938Dark red lettering on cream-colored base
Indiana 1940 185 649.jpg1940Silver lettering on black base
Indiana 1945 32911.jpg1945White lettering on brown base
Indiana 1950 SA 2774.jpg1950Yellow lettering on black base
Indiana 1960 GJ1236.jpg1960White lettering on dark blue base
Indiana 1961 GJ976.jpg1961White lettering on dark red base
Indiana 1963 84D2596.jpg1963Yellow lettering on blue base
Indiana 1964 20A1653.jpg1964Reflective white lettering on dark red base
Indiana 1965 20A4348.jpg1965Reflective white lettering on dark green base
Indiana 1966 20A4574.jpg1966Black lettering on reflective white base
Indiana 1967 20A2598.jpg1967Red lettering on reflective white base
Indiana 1968 20A2291.jpg1968Blue lettering on reflective white base
Indiana 1969 10C2722.jpg1969Black lettering on reflective white base
Indiana 1970 60A3334.jpg1970Red serial on reflective white backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
1970 marked the first year of staggered registration for Indiana. Instead of expiring on the last day of February each year, plates would now expire between January 31 and June 30, depending on the registrant's last name. Plates were valid through June 30, 1971.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1971Blue serial on reflective white backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Plates were valid through June 30, 1972.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1972Green serial on reflective white backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Plates were valid through June 30, 1973.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1973Red serial on reflective white backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Plates were valid through June 30, 1974.
In75platelg.jpg Wayne County Issued 1974 Plate1974Black serial on reflective white backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Plates were valid through June 30, 1975.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1975Blue serial on reflective white backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Plates were valid through June 30, 1976.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1976Blue serial on reflective white, red and blue graphic backgroundHeritage StateCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
This was Indiana's first graphic plate; the branch letter was pushed down to make room for the Minuteman figure. Plates were valid through June 30, 1977.
Indiana license plate 1978 series 02.jpg1977Green serial on reflective white, green and yellow backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Plates were valid through June 30, 1978.
In79platelg.jpg
Lawrence County Issued
1978-79 Plate
1978Black serial on reflective white, red and light blue backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Indianapolis 500 race cars in background. This issue is thought by some to be a tribute to Tony Hulman, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, who died in 1977; sample plates, normally numbered 00A0000 in most years, were numbered 00H0000 this year, lending some credence to this belief. Plates were valid through June 30, 1979.
Indiana 1980 45X6497.jpg1979Brown serial on reflective white, yellow and brown backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
1779 George Rogers ClarkAwarded "Plate of the Year" for best new license plate of 1979 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the first and, to date, only time Indiana has been so honored. Plates were valid through June 30, 1980.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1980Black serial on reflective white, yellow, orange and red backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Final annual issue for Indiana. Plates were valid through June 30, 1981.
In83platelg.jpg
Clark County Issued 1981-84 Plate
1981Brown serial on reflective white, light and dark brown and black graphic backgroundCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
First multi-year plate in Indiana since 1955, and the first to be renewed with decals (except for plates with numbers up to and including 100, which were reissued annually). Plates were valid until June 30, 1984.
Indiana85licenseplate41C6850.jpg1984Black serial on reflective white, yellow, green and red backgroundWander IndianaCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Staggered registration expanded to January–October with 1987 expiration. Plates were valid through October 31, 1987.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg Spencer County Issued 1987-90 Plate1987Blue serial on reflective blue, white and gold backgroundBack Home AgainCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Small white-on-blue county name decal added to lower right corner; hard to read from the start, most were illegible within a year. Plates were valid through October 31, 1990.
In92platelg.jpg
Hamilton County Issued 1990-92 Plate
1990Red serial on reflective white backgroundHoosier HospitalityCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 0A1234
Small white-on-blue county name decal continues as on Back Home Again issue. Plates were valid through October 31, 1993.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1993Black serial on reflective red, yellow and black backgroundAmber Waves of GrainCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 00AB123 (following exhaustion of above format)
  • 0A1234
  • 0AB123 (following exhaustion of above format)
Replacement cycle moves from 3 to 5 years. Early-issued plates may have a yellow-on-black county name decal in the lower-right corner; this is dropped in most counties before the end of 1993. Plates were valid through October 31, 1998.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg1998Dark blue serial on reflective white background, gold state outline and coat of arms - Indiana and Crossroads of America Printed in dark blue.The Crossroads of AmericaCounty-coded:
  • 00A1234
  • 00AB123 (following exhaustion of above format)
  • 0A1234
  • 0AB123 (following exhaustion of above format)
Final embossed plate for Indiana. Plates were valid through October 31, 2003.
Indiana Double lettered wwwINgov Plate.JPG2003dark blue on reflective farm scene graphicwww.IN.govCounty-coded, with variable number of digits following letter:
  • 0A1234
  • 0AB123 (following exhaustion of above format)
  • 00A1234
  • 00AB123 (following exhaustion of above format)
Earlier plates used a larger serial font that included full-height letters. The original design was to have "Back Home Again," but was replaced with the state website. This plate used a serial that was screened on and is completely flat. All previous Indiana plates were embossed. Plates were valid through October 31, 2008.

2007-2011 "In God We Trust" Plate
2007optional type:
white on dark blue with flag of the United States motif and numerical county sticker in lower right corner, although some plates do not have county sticker.
In God We TrustAB 1234 (variable number of digits following letters); formatted like a specialty plate.
2012 New Version: ABC123
2008 Indiana Plate Selection.JPG
Four Gibson County 2008-2013 Plate Types
2008White on dark blue with white Indiana state flag on left and sticker of county name and number on topnoneStandard Version
123A, 123AB or 123ABC Grandfathered
Version

00A0, 00A00 or 00A000

Handicapped Plates
2008-2010:
123456
2010>:
D123A, D123AB
National Guard Plates
NG123A

Serials not issued sequentially.

Letters or combinations of letters are unique to a particular county.

Issued concurrently with "In God We Trust" base. Staggered registration once again expanded to include all twelve months of the calendar year; four dates, the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of each month, are used (except in January and December). Grandfathered Version are laid out by county coding depending on demand for them. Some counties may only use single suffix numbers while others may use as much as three.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg
Indiana's new "In God We Trust" Plate
2012optional type:
White fading into the canton of the US Flag with Black Serials, Month, Year, and County Number printed on plate.
In God We TrustABC123
Started with RAA101 and finished around VHC500. Plate is now in second year of issue.
In God We Trust"In God We Trust" now appears across the bottom instead of on the left side. Change was made to address visibility issues with previous version and to coincide with new standard version being issued in 2013.
Blank License Plate Shape.jpg
Indiana 2013-2018 Bicentennial Plate
2013White fading to gold. Instead of the flag of Indiana, the outline of Indiana, a circle of 19 stars revolving around the number 200 with the 19th enlarged and colored gold appears. Black Serials with black Month, Year, and County Number printed on plate.Bicentennial 1816-2016Standard Version
123A, 123AB or 123ABC, No Grandfathered Version
Serial tied to vehicle.If vehicle was issued a previous plate with serial 661XYZ for example, the vehicle's 2013 issued plate will have serial 661XYZ.
LincolnBoyhoodPlate.jpgoptional type:
black on white with logo at left
Lincoln's Boyhood Home[1]BF1234[2]
BH1234
Aside from this and the In God We Trust Plates, there are approximately 70 other various organizations, schools, and other entities that offer plates using the same format but come with a $15 organizational fee. See Indiana Plate Types for further details.

New plate prefixing[edit]

Starting in 2010 special plates such as the handicapped, POW, National Guard, Disabled American Veteran that use the background of the standard plates will no longer use just numbers. Instead they will now use a predetermined prefix three mumbers and one or two suffix letters depending on if they have one or two prefix numbers. In all the max total characters will amount to six and, except the Disabled American Veteran plate will use the background of the standard plate.

Starting in 2012 veterans of each of the five branches of the armed forces will be able, for an extra $15, to obtain a plate with the seal of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard beginning in 2012. The $15 fee will benefit the state's Military Family Relief Fund.[3]

Trucks and Trailers[edit]

Indiana maintains separate plates for trucks, trailers, tractors/trailers, and farm vehicles. Except for farm vehicles, the plates follow an eight character AB123CDE format. All following plates use a plain white background

County coding[edit]

From 1963 through 2008, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued standard automobile license plates bearing a one- or two-digit number identifying the county in which the vehicle is registered. These prefixes proceeded alphabetically, with prefixes greater than 92 reserved as overflow for the state's historically most-populous counties, Lake (94 and 96) and Marion (93, 95, 97, 98 and 99).

Individual license plate numbers are assigned sequentially in each licensing office. The numbers are usually in the format #A1234 or ##A1234, depending on whether the prefix is one or two digits. Special overflow consideration was given for Allen and St. Joseph counties and, more recently, Hamilton, Elkhart, and Vanderburgh counties, which issued plates of the formats 2AB123, 71AB123, 29AB123, 20AB123, and 82AB123, respectively.[4]

From 1981 through 2008, following the introduction of multi-year plates, plates numbered 1 through 99 were reissued annually; numbers 100 and higher were revalidated with decals.

In 2008, new white-on-dark-blue license plates with white county name decals (located in the top center of each plate) replaced the old county number system, used since 1963, with a new system of license plates bearing a format of 123A, 123AB, or 123ABC with the stars and torch that adorn the state flag on the left quarter of the plate. For the first time since 1987, "INDIANA" is printed on the bottom of the plate.[5]

In January 2007, Indiana started to issue new plates bearing the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the left third as a no-cost alternative to the regular plate. Like Indiana's other specialty plates, this plate has two vertical letters and one to four numbers. The county number is, when applied, on a sticker at the bottom right corner, and, like the other specialty plates, it too is available on trucks up to 11,000 lbs. gross weight.

While very popular, this plate was controversial as the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana claimed that it is a symbol of endorsement of a religion. After a lawsuit from the ACLU because the God plates were of no cost, unlike other specialty plates, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the plates' constitutionality.[6]

County numbers[edit]

Indiana uses a numerical county-coding scheme to indicate the county of registration. The county code is displayed on a black on white sticker placed on the lower right corner of speciality plates like the In God we Trust plate shown above while long sticker with both the county number and name adorns the standard plates.

List of county numbers[edit]

Additional prefixes[edit]

Under the previous licence plate system, these seven numbers were distributed among the two largest counties in Indiana.

Renewal date tags[edit]

In the past, Indiana colored its due date tags by month. Another change to the plate system is that there are only four colors of tags which are the same regardless of the month, whether it be January, June, or December, another change because Indiana used to only issue month tags from January to October. These are all found on the top left corner of an Indiana plate based on the first three letters of the last name of the owner. Note: January tags are issued to company vehicles, based on the first three letters of the company name.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BMV: New Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plate
  2. ^ [1].
  3. ^ "Jacob's License Plate Blog". Jacob Newkirk. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  4. ^ "Indiana License Plates, 1969-present". David Nicholson. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  5. ^ Northup, John B. License Plates of America. River Pointe Publications, 2009, p. 36.
  6. ^ "Court Upholds 'In God We Trust' Plate". TheIndyChannel.com. November 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  7. ^ https://myweb.in.gov/BMV/mybmvportal/RegistrationsAndPlates/IndianasLicensePlates/LicensePlateStickersAndFrames.aspx

External links[edit]