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No red-letter day: N.C. plates to go blue again

Posted March 10, 2009

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— The state Division of Motor Vehicles announced Tuesday that vehicle license plates would return to all-blue lettering once the inventory of red-letter plates is used up, which should happen this fall.

The DMV has used red letters on tags for the past two years to assist with the recall of old and worn plates. About 1.1 million remaining red-letter plates remain in stock, and officials said they should be distributed by mid-October.

No red-letter plates now in stock will be destroyed prior to the changeover, officials said.

The switch back to blue plates was made at the request of drivers and law enforcement officers, who said the blue plates were easier to read at a distance.

The DMV already has started printing vanity and specialty plates with blue ink when they are ordered.

Officials said the move won't cost the DMV or Correction Enterprises, the Department of Correction division that manufactures license plates, any extra money.

The DMV also is scrapping flat tags and returning to embossed license plates when its supply of aluminum for the flat plates runs out in May. Drivers complained about the quality of the flat tags, and law enforcement officers said they had trouble distinguishing them from novelty plates sold in stores.

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  • FromClayton Mar 11, 2009

    i am absoutly sure the reason they said they went to red was because it would make it easier to read. now they say the blue is easeir to read. it can only be one way. didnt they do any tests on this, or do they just say whatever way they want to change it to is easier?

  • Pineview Style Mar 11, 2009

    "I seem to remember as a kid in the 1970s, cars had red letters on a white background for even years and green letters on a white background for odd years. Really old cars had yellow letters on a black background." bigredtruckman

    I remember after we moved to NC in 1980 my mom's car having a plate with red letters on it. I think the letters were a darker red.

  • Lyle Mar 11, 2009

    Another happy blue-plate fan. The red plates are atrocious, and when my renewal notice comes in the next couple of weeks I'm getting a personalized plate which, hooray, will be in blue.

    Now, it seems, there will be 20 future years worth of red plates still out there??

  • Iworkforaliving Mar 11, 2009

    t-man, everything the guberment does costs us taxpayers money, heck even telling us that they are changing back to blue will cost us money somehow. They claim it won't just so they won't hear a bunch of krap.

  • we-r-just-human Mar 10, 2009

    I guess I'll have to respray my new plate with "Photo Block"

  • bigredtruckman Mar 10, 2009

    I seem to remember as a kid in the 1970s, cars had red letters on a white background for even years and green letters on a white background for odd years. Really old cars had yellow letters on a black background.

    I was forced to get a red letter plate when I ordered my custom plate in 2007. I like my plate choice, but I may turn it back in and then reorder the same plate again to get a blue one. I thought that being a Wolfpack fan, I'd like the red letters, but they are really just hideous and hard to read.

    At least I didn't get a flat plate with red letters. That would be the ultimate in tacky.

  • Axtel Mar 10, 2009

    It's the economy. There is not enough money to switch all the blue plates to red. There is only so much that can be sucked from the lottery fund.

  • 4unot2no Mar 10, 2009

    I am glad to hear it!!

  • news4u Mar 10, 2009

    Since the State is awash in red ink maybe we can get a student to redesign the tag for free.

    Something original for The Tar Heel State!

  • Madonna Mar 10, 2009

    I always wondered why the lettering color changed to RED. Glad that BLUE is coming back.

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