Utah is a “two-plate state,” requiring drivers to display
Utah license plates on the back and front of their vehicles. The only exceptions to Utah’s front license plate laws are motorcycles, trailers, and semitrailers, which only need back license plates.
Adding a second plate may seem like a hassle (or even an eyesore!), but it’s an important way to help police identify stolen vehicles and manage traffic violations. While you can’t get pulled over for failing to display a front plate in Utah, you could face a fine if you’re pulled over for another reason.
Here to take you through the legal requirements for front plates in Utah—and some useful car theft statistics—is the trusted
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Does Utah require front license plates?
Yes—every registered vehicle in Utah must have front and rear license plates securely attached. The only vehicles exempt from this rule are motorcycles, trailers, and semitrailers.
Despite Utah requiring front license plates, about one in five registered cars in Utah do not display them. Some vehicles don’t come equipped with a front license plate, even though federal standards require that every vehicle manufactured for sale in the states must be able to mount a license plate on the front and rear.
If you need assistance mounting your front license plate in Utah, contact your dealer for a special kit to help secure it.
Generally speaking, most vehicles must display two license plates in Utah—one on the back and one on the front. If the Utah DMV gives you two sets of plates, you should probably display them both!
There are, however, a few types of vehicles that are exempt from mounting front license plates. They include:
These vehicles still have to display a rear license plate, but the front plate is not required. As such, the DMV should only give you one license plate when you register these vehicles.
What is the penalty for driving without a front license plate in Utah?
Driving without a front license plate in Utah is considered a secondary offense. This means law enforcement can’t pull you over just for not having your front plate mounted, but you could face fines if you’re pulled over for something else.
There have been whispers of shifting driving without a front license plate to a primary offense in Utah, so better play it safe and mount your front plate before you get pulled over!
Which US states do not require a front license plate?
While Utah may require two license plates, not every state does. Out of all 50 states, only 20 don’t require two plates. Here’s a list of the states that do not require drivers to display two license plates:
Why Utah requires a front license plate
Utah doesn’t require front plates just for symmetry—they also serve an essential purpose in identifying stolen vehicles.
Because law enforcement can identify a vehicle from the front and back with both plates, having your front plate doubles the chances of finding a stolen vehicle. Considering Salt Lake City has some of the highest vehicle theft rates in the country, it’s worth adding the second license plate!
Which states have the highest rate of car theft?
According to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Service, Utah is the 28th-worst state for car theft. With 112.1 thefts per 100,000 vehicles, Utah ranks just behind Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
While Utah may not rank very high in terms of overall auto theft statistics, Salt Lake City has one of the country's highest motor vehicle theft rates. With 544 vehicle thefts for every 100,000, Salt Lake City’s rates are almost double the national average of 246 per 100,000.
For comparison, here are the auto theft rates per 100,000 vehicles in other Utah cities:
Not only do these rates remind us why a front license plate can turn the tables in a theft situation, but they can also impact your car insurance rates. Increased theft rates signal an increased risk for pricey claims to your insurance provider, and they often raise insurance rates as a result.
How to find cheap car insurance in Utah
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