If you live in or visit New Jersey, look out. Got a license plate frame that professes your love for your sports team, or the dealer that took your money? You could become one of the hundreds of thousands of people ticketed for that highly illegal piece of decoration. NJ cops have gone so far overboard with the plate-frame tickets, the state is telling them to lay off, as NJ.com reports.
Just how many tickets have been issued? Records from New Jersey’s court system show that between 2017 and 2021, 501,699 summonses for plate frames were issued to Jersey drivers. 2019 was the biggest year for plate-frame violations, with 127,680 tickets written.
Police claim a license plate frame can obscure identifying information on the plate, which could help a devious driver avoid camera tickets or toll-by-mail fees. But that doesn’t describe the vast majority of drivers ticketed for these violations, New Jersey state senator Patrick Diegnan Jr. said in a statement quoted by NJ.com.
“Most of these citations were for frames covering a part of the license plate that did not prevent identification of the vehicle” Diegnan said.
The proposed legislation would revise the law to ease the out-of-control ticketing. Co-written by Senator Diegnan, a Democrat, and State Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, a Republican, the bill would allow license plate frames that partially cover “New Jersey” at the top of a plate or “Garden State” at the bottom, as long as that text, and the main body of the plate, are all still readable.
“This bill will help prevent thousands of drivers from being pulled over for minor license plate frame violations,” Dancer said in a statement quoted by NJ.com. “New Jersey drivers should not have to spend time and money seeking recourse through the court system. As long as pertinent letters and numbers are recognizable on a plate, a person should be free from unwarranted interactions with police.”