Local News

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

Posted March 10, 2009 3:24 p.m. EDT

— 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.