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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Out of State Plates - Target for Cops

    If you thought you were more likely to get a ticket if you are driving a car with out of state plates, it looks like you are right.

    At least if you can belive this article in the Chicago Tribune:
    Road-Trippers Face Added Risk of Ticket

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Interesting

    I've always suspected it. Especially with my Louisiana tags, I keep my speed to just a little below the speed limit when passing through small towns.

    Louisiana has such an odd reputation. I've been asked a lot about alligators, bayous, etc and seen people surprised that I speak English and not French (that's the one that really tickled me). So I try to stay as far under the radar (no pun intended) as possible.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I agree, Laura

    Like you, I tend to drive a bit more slowly through small towns. Only because I know of several small towns near me who are notorious for doing this because their tax base is so limited. At least I suspect that's why and the article seems to confirm that, too.

    However, on the highway, I usually find that going with the flow of traffic seems to be a safe bet.

  4. #4

    Default I felt conspicuous

    I could sense people in other cars taking a sideways look at my Texas plates on my last trip, so I was real good and didn't speed once. Mind you I got away with doing 30mph over the limit in Arizona when running on California plates... so who knows :s

    Over here it's the same. We go into mainland Europe and speed and they escort us to the ATM and fine us on he spot. If we can't pay, they take the car!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Small states

    One of the benefits to living in a smaller state amongst a cluster of smaller states is that it is not uncommon to see out of state plates. It is quite customary to see New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and (especially) Connecticut plates in my neck of the woods. Virginia plates are markedly less in evidence - I guess the individual quoted in that story would have been more likely to get tagged out.

    I had a former coworker that had Wisconsin plates on his car for two years(!) before he finally got pulled over.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default When renting, I try to....

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    If you thought you were more likely to get a ticket if you are driving a car with out of state plates, it looks like you are right.
    When I pick up a rental car, I always try to get plates that match the state I will be driving in, because I know that out of state plates attract more scrutiny from both peace officers and others with less loft intentions...


  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Other factors?

    I really doubt out of state plates make that much of a difference. We've all driven out of state, and I personally have never had any issues with out of state plates. In fact I seem to attract more attention with in-state plates than out.

    I think we may be forgetting some of the "other" factors:
    1) How we're driving. Lets face it, if you're doing something wrong, then your plates don't really account for much... unless they're expired.
    2) Car color (red and bright cars attract more attention than more common colored cars)
    3) Car type (a corvette is going to be looked at differently than a corolla).

    I haven't read the article, but personally, I think the idea of getting pulled over because you're a Missourian in Utah is kind of ridiculous. Although, as a guest in someone else's town/county/state, one should always try not to give an officer any reason to conduct a stop.


  8. Default Residency

    In my state, out-of-state plates are a target. One reason: there is no "grace" period for obtaining plates and driver license once you are a resident here -- so occasionally law enforcement targets O/O/S plates (when other violations are committed which establishes good probable cause) and then they check out whether you have established residence. If you have, the fine for not having plates, registration and Arizona driver license is HUGE.

    Also, in my own experience, violations in my home state that have netted me warnings have invariably produced citations when I am in a different state with my Arizona plates. I have no doubt whatsoever that out of state plates make you a target.

    By the way Brad, it is a myth to a large extent that bright colors attract police attention --- the most commonly "cited" car color is white -- because it is the most common car color. Your ACTIONS as a driver are what gather the attention. Another myth is that going with the flow is OK -- that "flow" speed is typically fast enough to get you a ticket. Officers will often tell you they can only stop one car at a time (although I have seen officers herd an entire group of speeders to the side and write them ALL).

    The best tactic for avoiding citations is don't drive fast enough to get a ticket! Bob

  9. #9
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Indeed


    I was not aware about those facts about color of car, but the overall point was that if you're doing something to get tagged by an officer, then the plates didn't help get you into that mess (although, as you say, they may cause the probability of citations vs. warnings to be higher).

    < snip >

    I've only been stopped once (by tribal police on the Salt River reservation) for a cracked and chipped tail lamp (after passing at least 12 Phoenix / Scottsdale police) late one night after work while going for a drive (oddly enough, he didn't mention the fact that I was going over 30 in a 25 ;-)... and I didn't bring it up.) No citation, just a repair notice (which was null before he even turned around, as I had some tape in my car).

    < snip >

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-12-2007 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Not appropriate (contact Editor for more info)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default getting lucky

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Bob View Post
    they check out whether you have established residence. If you have, the fine for not having plates, registration and Arizona driver license is HUGE.
    So here is the part where I mention, during the year I lived in Arizona, I had South Dakota plates on my car the entire time. SD's $40 plate renewal fee was much more in my budget than the $100+ I would have had to pay to the state of Arizona.

    Thankfully, I never got pulled over during my time there. However, shortly after I moved back to Wisconsin I did get pulled over and ticketed when I still had California plates and a California Drivers License. I didn't even get a written warning, but both the Cop and the Judge reminded me that I would essentially be getting double points on my license for every violation.

    I also discovered one of the oddities of Wisconsin law during that time. You are supposed to get a new Drivers License within 20 days of moving into WI, however, you can not get a new license unless you show that you have been a resident for at least 30 days!

    As far as out of state drivers being targets, I'll just say this, If I'm driving down the Interstate in Wisconsin at 80 mph, and there is a guy with Illinois plates doing the same speed near me, I'm fairly confident that I'm not the one who will be getting pulled over. Now if I'm doing 85 and the guy from IL is doing 80, that's another story...

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