Does Oregon Require Front License Plates?

Oregon state law requires most passenger vehicles to display two license plates—one at the front and one at the rear—to help crack down on car theft.
Written by Natalie Todoroff
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Oct 28, 2022
Oregon is what’s known as a “two-plate state,” meaning you must have ​​
Oregon license plates
on the front and rear of your vehicle. 
Unless you’re someone with a particularly witty and well-conceived
custom license plate
, it’s safe to say that you don’t pay much mind to those small slabs of metal on your vehicle. While, sure, they can be a bit of an eyesore, many states (Oregon among them) require drivers to display license plates at both the front and back of the car to help law enforcement identify stolen vehicles. 
, the super app drivers trust to find great deals on
car insurance
, is here with this guide to everything you need to know about Oregon’s license plate laws. We also have some important car theft statistics Oregon drivers should be aware of and our best tips on how to lower
Oregon car insurance costs
Compare insurance quotes from 50+ carriers with Jerry in under 45 seconds
rating primary
4.7/5 App Store Rating. Trusted by 2+ Million Customers.

Does Oregon require front license plates?

Yes—most vehicles in Oregon are required to display front and rear license plates. 
According to
Section 803.540
of Oregon’s state laws, all vehicles must display two license plates. We’ll get into which vehicles have exemptions a little later on, but they are few and far between. The default requirement in most cases is two plates, which must be fully visible during the day and at night. You’re welcome to frame your license plate or add a clear protective cover, but you cannot cover up the numbers, tags, and stickers. 
The same rules apply to special plates and personalized plates. And, if you’re keen to design a new license plate graphic and submit it to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, the color of the sky is legally required to be blue, per
Section 803.538


However, some Oregon vehicles are only required to display one license plate. They are: 
  • Mopeds
  • Motorcycles
  • Trailers 
  • Campers
  • Antique vehicles, which are older than half the number of years between the current year and 1900. For 2022, this means cars that are 61 years or older. 
  • Special interest vehicles. Must meet one of the four criteria: at least 25 years old, sanctioned by an established organization as a vehicle of special interest, was manufactured before 1949 or resembles a car manufactured before that date, or is a high-mobility multipurpose vehicle originally for military use. 
For the latter two, you must first apply for
Antique/Special Vehicle Certification
and receive official documents from the DMV before removing your front license plate.  

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

If you are caught driving without a front license plate in Oregon, it is considered a Class D traffic violation. This is the most minor of the Beaver State’s traffic violations and carries a maximum $250 fine, minimum $60 fine, and presumptive $110 fine.
Every state that Oregon touches also requires drivers to have front license plates, so if you get pulled over for it, pleading ignorance won’t necessarily let you get off scot-free!  

Which states do not require a front license plate?

Front and rear license plates are mandated by law along the west coast, but there are 19 states where you can drive with just a license plate on the back end of your car:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Why Oregon requires a front license plate

There’s a lot of hullabaloo surrounding front license plates, so why have lawmakers gone to such lengths to make them a requirement?
The answer? To help the police identify stolen vehicles. Vehicles with front license plates double the chances of law enforcement being able to track down your car. Which, in a theft-heavy state like Oregon, is especially important.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

Which states have the highest rate of car theft?

Oregon isn’t just known for its evergreen views and killer Pinot Noirs—it’s also a hotbed for car theft. According to data from the National Insurance Claim Bureau, Oregon ranks fifth in the nation for vehicle theft, with an astounding 471.16 vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents. It closely tails
New Mexico
Washington D.C.
, and
Of all the cities in the Beaver State,
are the worst for car theft. The National Insurance Claim Bureau reports that Portland’s car theft rate is among the top five nationally—and even knocked San Francisco—with 680 vehicle thefts for 100,000 residents. And Salem isn’t much better, with 480 thefts for every 100,000 residents, per the FBI Uniform Crime Report. 
These high auto theft rates not only emphasize how important having a front license plate is, but they actually affect your insurance premiums! Because of the sky-high theft rate, you can expect to pay more for your car insurance in Portland and Salem. 

How to find cheap car insurance in Oregon

Regardless of where you live in Oregon, whether in the middle of downtown
or way out in
, you should download
to score some of the best
car insurance
You don’t have to haul it to his office, Jerry is a super app! A
licensed insurance broker and comparison shopping app
, to be exact. Our app can find you customized insurance quotes in minutes and can even help you cancel your old policy once you find a better deal. 
To get started, download Jerry for free from the app store, take 45 seconds to answer some basic questions, and let Jerry work its magic. In just a few minutes, you’ll be presented with quotes that are tailor-made for your vehicle. 
is a great service made easy for a newbie. It was my first time buying car insurance and everything was quickly taken care of. Everything was done in the app, so that was incredibly satisfying.” —August M.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free