Identifying license plate locations

Originally published in the October 2015 edition of Tech Trends (e-newsletter and as an article within NTEA News), this article is also available to you below as an employee of an NTEA member company.

Some NTEA members inquire about allowable license plate locations, but there is no easy answer as federal regulations do not dictate positioning. While certain states have individual requirements, members are mainly concerned with license plates that are not easily visible. They are either blocked by equipment, or the lamps used to light them at night are poorly positioned.

Items to note

When determining license plate location on the rear of a work truck, the following may be helpful.

  • Specific lighting requirements for a license plate are defined under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108. Depending on location, one or two lights are required for full illumination.
  • A specific SAE test helps ensure sufficient light on the plate.
  • Locate the plate at the rearmost part of the vehicle — not too high — without any equipment blocking its visibility.
  • Check specific state requirements for maximum or minimum plate height.

Are you faced with technical or engineering challenges?
Contact the Technical and Engineering Hotline at 800-441-6832 for individual attention on varied topics such as Federal Excise Tax, truck certification and labeling, vehicle compliance and truck spec’ing. The Hotline is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST). Members can contact the Association as frequently as needed.