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DMV more than halfway through replacing Sesquicentennial license plates

May 21, 2014

Time has taken its toll on the popular plate; many are too faded to read.

The special license plate developed for Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial and other red-lettered plates are quickly becoming history as more than 150,000 have been replaced since August 2013. Over the next five months, roughly 150,000 more will be replaced.

"The oldest Sesquicentennial plates have been on the road for more than 17 years now, much longer than national standards recommend," notes Mitchell Warren, director of the Bureau of Vehicle Services in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). "Many of the plates are so faded and their reflectivity is so deteriorated, that they can’t be read easily, if at all. It’s really a safety and law enforcement issue."

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators recommends license plates with white backgrounds and black letters or numbers. This provides the most contrast and is considered optimal.

"Plate holders will receive a notice from DMV when it is time to renew," notes Warren. "The notice will provide details, so holders are asked to keep their plates on their vehicles until they hear from us. There is no need to do anything right now."

In total, about 160,000 Sesquicentennial and 135,000 red-letter standard auto plates will be reissued. Over the course of the year, DMV expects to reissue on average about 25,000 sets of plates per month. Reissuance of these plates will be complete when the entire renewal cycle has passed in September of 2014.

Find out more about the reissuance of plates at the official DMV website in the announcements section.

For more information, contact:
Mitchell Warren, DMV Bureau of Vehicle Services director
(608) 267-5121,



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