New license plates mandatory

By Kathleen Guill -

The State of Oklahoma unveiled its new license plate design in 2016, with some residents listing it among the worst of things last year had to offer. The new plates began hitting the roads Jan. 3. Oklahoma residents will be issued the new plate when they renew their tags or register a new vehicle.

The new plate cost is $5 on top of the cost of the tag or registration, according to Linda Haston who runs Tags 2 Go in Frederick.

“The price of the new plate will be added into the renewal notices sent out,” Haston said. “That’s only for the newer notices sent out. If someone comes in to get tags that expired in July, then they won’t have that extra five dollars added into the cost of the tag.”

The new license plate design was chosen by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation and features a website underneath the plate number. The rest of the plate has a blue background with a white scissor-tailed flycatcher displayed prominently.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin released a statement regarding the new plates when they were first unveiled in August.

“The new design will act as a travelling billboard for those looking to experience and explore our beautiful state,” Fallin said. “Just as important, the new plates are more clearly visible at night and will aid our law enforcement officers as they work to keep us safe.”

Some Twitter users have compared the design to the Twitter logo with one user posting, “Looks like a car hit the Twitter bird.”

However, others like the new design. LaDonna Sanders got her new plate Jan. 3.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” she said. “But I think the design is great.”

State officials hope that the new plates will increase safety for law enforcement as well as increase state revenue. Oklahoma Tax Commissioner Dawn Cash said the state will gain from increasing registration compliance.

“The tax commission estimates that the state is owed approximately $4 million from thousands of Oklahomans who are out of compliance and failed to pay their registration fees last year,” Cash said. “Not only is that unfair to the Oklahomans who are following the law and registering their vehicles, it also significantly diminishes revenue going to public schools, local governments and other priority needs. New license plates will help us reduce non-compliance and enforce the rules of the road.”

Some are concerned that the cost of the plates aren’t going to benefit the education system.

“Instead of investing in our terrible education system, Oklahoma invests in new license plates,” Oklahoma resident Lezlie Jones-Garris said. “I’m still waiting to see the casino money benefit the education system.”

According to Jana Miller, the Oklahoma Safety Council pushed to have new plates in Oklahoma for several reasons of public safety. Miller is the senior adviser on communications to Fallin.

“First, the original Oklahoma license plates were many years past their warranty and so deteriorating, making them more difficult to see at night,” Miller said.”Second, requiring new plates will reduce the rate of uninsured motorists and unregistered vehicles by making it immediately obvious who is in compliance and who is not. The additional revenue will go into a newly created State Public Safety Fund that will be available for state lawmakers to spend to support public safety in Oklahoma.”

Whether the plates are wanted or not, they’re here to stay. They are already on the streets of Frederick. Waiting to renew tags to avoid the new license plate or the fee will just accrue additional fees. For every day that the tag is out of date, a $1 fee is added to the cost of the new tag and there is also the added risk of tickets for out-of-date tags.

By Kathleen Guill

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

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