Does Idaho Require Front License Plates?

You must have a front and rear license plate in Idaho. Here are the details.
Written by Brittni Brinn
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Along with 30 other states, Idaho is a “two-plate state.” For most vehicles, you are required to have one license plate displayed on the front and one displayed on the back. 
With rising motor vehicle thefts in Idaho, having two license plates is more important than ever. To help protect your vehicle, make it more recognizable, and fulfill the state’s two-plate law, always make sure you drive with two license plates properly installed. 
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Does Idaho require front license plates?

Yes—to legally drive in Idaho, you must have a front and rear license plate
Section 49.428
of the state code, the law requires drivers to securely fasten a front and rear license plate in such a way that it will not swing when the vehicle is in motion. Both license plates have to be at least 12 inches above the ground. The plates must also be clearly visible with up-to-date registration stickers properly displayed. 


There are some exceptions to the two-plate law in Idaho. They include:
  • Motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, utility-type vehicles, motorbikes, and semi-trailers may have one plate attached to the rear.
  • A motor vehicle operated by a manufacturer, repossession agent, or dealer may have one plate attached to the rear.
  • Personalized license plates and special plates, such as year of manufacture, old timer, classic car, street rod, or custom vehicle license plates, may have one plate attached to the rear.
  • Tractors may have one plate attached to the front.
  • A wrecker plate should be on the rear of the vehicle being towed.

What is the penalty for driving without a front license plate in Idaho?

Not having a front license plate in Idaho is all the reason a police officer needs to pull you over. You could face an equipment infraction and a $67 fine
In some cases, you may be lucky and get off with a warning, but it’s best to avoid the situation altogether by making sure you follow Idaho’s front plate requirement.
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Which U.S. states do not require a front license plate?

Idaho is one of 30 states that requires a front license plate—but there are some places where having just one plate is fine. Here are the 19 states that don’t have a front license plate requirement:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Why Idaho requires a front license plate

A front license plate can seem like an unnecessary extra, but it helps to cut down on crime. With a front and rear license plate, it’s easier for law enforcement to spot stolen vehicles and track down hit-and-run drivers. 
It’s estimated that Idaho’s motor vehicle theft rate increased by 14% in 2020. But still, Idaho tends to have lower car theft rates than most states at a rate of 87.9/100,000 per year.

Which states have the highest rate of car theft?

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Service, the top three states for motor vehicle theft are
New Mexico
, and
. Bakersfield, California, had the highest car theft rate in 2020 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Idaho fares well when it comes to motor vehicle theft and has a lower risk when compared to other states. Here are the car theft rates in a few major Idaho cities: 
  • Boise: 115 car thefts per 100,000
  • Pocatello: 229 car thefts per 100,000
  • Twin Falls: 157 car thefts per 100,000
Keep in mind that these are rates for a huge area. If you live in a neighborhood with a higher crime rate, you can still feel the effects even if your car is safely tucked away in your garage—especially when it comes to your insurance premiums.

How to find cheap car insurance in Missouri

One way to keep your car insurance costs low is to invest in some anti-theft devices to lower the risk that your car will be stolen. Another way is to compare coverage costs by using the
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