All vehicles in the U.S. should display both front as well as rear license plates. Otherwise, it is one easy way that Criminals can continue to evade law enforcement
As of the spring of 2016, 30 of our states and colonies require that vehicle owners display active license plates on both the front as well as the rear of all commercial and privately owned vehicles. In 19 states, only rear license plates are required, and in 3 states, most but not all vehicles are currently required to have front as well as rear license plates displayed.
The reasons that all vehicles should be required to have both front as well as rear license displayed should be relatively obvious. A single plate can easily become unreadable if it gets covered with dirt, mud, sand, road salt, snow or ice, which happens quite frequently if someone drives for long distances.
It’s even more difficult to read a license plate at night and when it is raining, snowing or when there is fog present. In addition to tracking down stolen vehicles, vehicles that are been suspected of having been used in crimes and tracking down criminals, police also need to be able to read license plates to identify victims of accidents.
When someone is severely injured in an accident and they are unable to converse coherently with rescue personnel, one way that the first responders identify them is to search through their pants pockets to look for a wallet with a drivers’ license, credit cards or other identification cards. The other way that first responders identify accident victims is to have police run their vehicle license plates through their databases. This method only works when the license plates are readable- which is far easier when there are 2 license plates on a car or truck, and not only one.
People who watch television shows such as “Breakout,” “I Escaped: Real Prison Breaks,” “The Fugitive Chronicles” and “I (Almost) Got Away With It” can see that when criminals escape from prisons, many of them intentionally travel as quickly as possible to the states which only require rear license plates before finalizing their plans to flee to south to Mexico or north up to Canada because they know that it is more difficult for law enforcement officers to identify vehicles which have only one license plate on them than it is for police to identify a vehicle which has both license plates on it.
Legislation which would require all vehicle owners to display front as well as rear license plates would have to come from the U.S. Department Of Transportation; the state DMV’s have had the option to require both license plates for the past century, and 20 of them still opt not to do so.
Military should not be an exception to both front as well as rear license plates
All Federally owned vehicles are required to display both front as well as rear license plates, except for military and USPS vehicles, which usually have no license plates at all. While it is rare that military or postal vehicles are used to commit crimes, it is not entirely unheard of. There exists no magic bubble which protects military and postal vehicles, the drivers of USPS and military vehicles drive in the same weather conditions as everyone else, they drive on the same roads as everyone else, and therefore, they can quite obviously get into accidents as much as anyone else- and this does in fact happen.
Therefore, police need to be able to identify these vehicles quickly too. So if, as I’m proposing here, our DOT is going to require that all vehicles in the U.S. display both front as well as rear license plates, there should not be an exception for military and postal vehicles either.
Our neighbors to the north may also want to consider comparable legislation for the same reasons. Presently, only four Canadian provinces require that all vehicle owners display both front as well as rear license plates on all vehicles, while 9 Canadian provinces only require rear license plates.