When you visit a state like Florida, you might notice something different when you're riding or driving down the road. Cars in Florida are only required to have 1 license plate. There are actually 19 states that only require cars to have 1 plate. Iowa is not one of them. Iowa as well as 30 other states require 2 license plates on vehicles. Did you know there is a condition in which someone in Iowa would only be required to have 1 plate on their car?


According to the Gazette, back in March of 2021, there was a bill brought to the state of Iowa that would "no longer allow officers to be able to ticket a driver for not displaying a front license plate on a vehicle as a primary offense, unless the violation was issued in conjunction with another violation, such as speeding." As of now, you can be pulled over for only having 1 plate in Iowa under code 321.37. According to Legis Iowa, code 321.37 states

Registration plates issued for a motor vehicle other than an autocycle, motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or truck tractor shall be attached to the motor vehicle, one in the front and the other in the rear.

The Importance Of Plates

Why do we need plates, other than it's just another excuse for us to have to give the government more money? According to Tom Fowler Law, "vehicles are involved in 70% of severe crimes in the United States. By removing the front plate, we restrict their capacity to locate a questionable car by 50%" If you are stopped for neglecting a front license plate it can cost you up to $120.

When Is A Front License Plate Not Required?

Unsplash - Aaron Huber
Unsplash - Aaron Huber

The exception to the two license plate rule in Iowa is if you own some type of historic car, from 1948 or earlier. Chances are if you own a historic car, you aren't driving it very often, if ever. You might take it for a drive on a nice day in the summer or haul it around to car shows across the state but I doubt you'd be taking your classic prized possession for many joyrides.

If you simply use a car this old as something to show off, use as a talking point, and not use, you might not have plates on it at all. I'm curious if they would ever consider bumping the year up in Iowa. What if they changed the year to 1969 and older?

If you're currently rocking only 1 license plate on your vehicle and it's not a really old car, you are breaking the law. Save yourself the money and grab a front plate.

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