Although New Hampshire claims to be the most free state in the US, its automotive and traffic laws are quite a bit more authoritarian than many other states. Every state in the US requires a rear license plate. Delaware, Michigan, and 17 other states’ lawmakers do not force drivers to drill a second license plate to the front of the vehicle, as well. New Hampshire also has extremely long and strict inspection requirements, all of which result in a primary offense if they are not obeyed. This means that if a single molecule of any matter covers either license plate, the vehicle would fail inspection and could also be justification for a traffic stop and a ticket. This includes frames, clear covers, or anything else that obstructs even one millimeter of the license plate’s edges.
The ‘property rights doctrine’ – the foundation of a free and civil society – states that all individuals are free to do whatever they desire with their own property as long as they do not directly harm a person or their property. If property rights were respected in a pure sense in today’s world, no license plate requirements would exist. Using armed men (police) to force all drivers to place a license plate on the rear of their vehicles is a gross violation of property rights (not to mention privacy). Forcing them to also place one on the front of their vehicles makes the violation of individual freedom that much more severe.
Why do government agents care about the front license plate?
Police officers always pull people over from behind. All vehicles could easily be identified and investigated by cops from behind. We all know that cops type the license plate number into their laptop before pulling drivers over or while slowing down as they make the stop. Repealing the double plate requirement would not make this process more difficult for police officers.
Follow the money
Where front license plates significantly help authoritarian government agents is in the surveillance arena. License plate readers were legalized in New Hampshire in 2017, and police departments all over the state have been eager to buy them for their cars. These Orwellian super-cameras scan 1500 plates each minute, recording the license plate, the time, and the location of the scan. The program automatically runs every plate against the state and federal database to see if the plate’s registered owner has any prior record. These cameras generally point towards each rear corner of the cop car and perpetually scan innocent drivers’ cars, regardless of whether the cop car or civilian car is moving or stationary. Yes, your history is being investigated by your local police despite your car being parked in front of your house. So much for the whole ‘due process’ and ‘reasonable suspicion’ crap.
Throughout the US, cities have been rapidly increasing the amount of LPRs, red light cameras, speeding cameras, and other cameras that they use in order to spy on innocent citizens. It’s only a matter of time before New Hampshire police successfully pass a bill allowing them to set up speeding cameras to supplement their LPR system.
And since these cameras primarily work by detecting license plates…..the more plates the better!
If your vehicle has two plates, you are much more likely to be scanned by the LPRs roaming around your neighborhood.
According to a 2012 study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, cops (government agents) support the double plate requirement because it helps them give tickets to more drivers, as reported by Cars.com:
“Walden said when researchers began the study they expected law enforcement and safety to be the primary benefits from having two license plates. Turned out, though, it is revenue — and not from the higher price of sticking a second slice of metal to the front of a vehicle.
Instead, the study found that having a second plate makes it easier to photograph (and ticket) those who run stop signs and red lights, don’t pay tolls or drive out of unattended pay garages and parking lots without paying. Linking automatic license plate readers to databases also makes it easier to track down scofflaws electronically instead of having human eyeballs view every image to identify license plate numbers.”
As I have mentioned many times in the past, if politicians want more money, earn it. Don’t make more laws and more punishments as justification for stealing more money from us.
A bill proposed by 6 Republicans and 1 Democrat would change New Hampshire’s laws to no longer make it a crime for a person to have only a rear license plate. House Bill 260 would make the government and their agents a little less powerful, it would mildly restrict the surveillance state, and it would make individuals a little more free.
Please tell your representatives to support this bill.