Does Alaska Require Front License Plates?

Alaska only requires passenger vehicles to display one plate on the rear, while commercial vehicles over 10,001 pounds must display one on the front.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Alaska does not require a front license plate—it is a “one-plate state.” Since August 2022, the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles only requires drivers to display one
Alaska license plate
on the back of all passenger vehicles, motorcycles, motorhomes, trucks, vans, trailers, and all-purpose vehicles. 
A front license plate might seem like the end of the world if you’re a sports car enthusiast, classic car connoisseur, or luxury car owner. With a car as beautiful as yours, why rough up the front end with a plate? They’re clunky, chunky, and unattractive. 
And while there may be some merit as to why certain states mandate it, Alaska drivers are in the clear. AK is a one-plate state as of 2022. 
Curious why Alaska does not require a front license plate?
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Does Alaska require front license plates?

No—Alaska does not require front license plates. 
As of August 2022, Alaska is a one-plate state. Passenger vehicles, motorcycles, motorhomes, trucks, vans, trailers, and all-purpose vehicles are only required to display a single plate.
Prior to 2022, Alaska state law required motor vehicles to display a front and rear plate. But the signing of
House Bill 163
changed the requirements for commercial and non-commercial vehicles. For personal cars, trailers, motorhomes, and all-terrain vehicles, Alaskans only need one license plate secured and visible on the back of their vehicles. For
large commercial vehicles
, a single license plate is still required—but on the front
Alaska offers many different styles of special-issue license plates that can be personalized. With no special mention of personalized license plates and special plate display laws, it’s assumed they are the same—motorists must display one license plate on the rear of the vehicle, clearly and legibly. 

Exemptions

The passing of House Bill 163 no longer requires motor vehicle owners to display two plates. But if you have two plates, the registration tab must be displayed on the rear. Regardless, in most cases, only a single license plate is required to be displayed on the back of the vehicle.
However, the laws differ for commercial vehicles over 10,0001 pounds and non-commercial vehicles. The former is still only required to have a single plate, but it must be displayed on the front of the vehicle. 
All such non-commercial passenger vehicles will display their license plate on the rear, while commercial vehicles over the weight restrictions will display it on the front. 
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What is the penalty for driving without a rear license plate in Alaska?

The penalties for not abiding by the license plate laws in Alaska depend on the offense. Improper display or attachment of plates, decals, or permits is classified as a misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $500, imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or both. 
Driving privileges or vehicle registration may also be suspended or revoked. In addition, the privilege to drive or the registration of vehicles may be suspended or revoked. Improper use of plates also carries the same penalties. 
Failure to illuminate your license plate so it’s visible 50 feet from the rear is considered an infraction and carries a fine of up to $300.
Not having license plates—i.e., not having your vehicle registered—is a much more serious offense than an improper display of license plates. 
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Which US states do not require a front license plate?

Although Alaska did fall into the “two-plate state” category for a long time, they’ve transitioned to a single plate and are joining the “Rugged 19” states that require just one. The following states do not require a front license plate: 
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Why Alaska does not require a front license plate

For most drivers, a single or dual plate isn’t a big deal. But for car collectors and enthusiasts, a front license plate isn’t the most attractive feature of the car. That may have a little to do with the law changing—but likely not much.
For Rep. Kevin McCabe, ending front license plate requirements in Alaska was a way to make a “surgical” budget cut. The Alaska DMV estimates that switching to a single rear plate could save the state a whopping $332,000 per year.
The Alaska Auto Dealers Association supported this movement, stating that front license plates are “cumbersome” and specific car models don’t support their use. Plus, they can interfere with new safety radar systems.
And funny enough, relatively few tickets are issued for “fix-it” problems with plates. The state Department of Public Safety issued only nine citations in 2021 for all license plate infringements.

How to find cheap car insurance in Alaska

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