FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is making major progress toward introducing a modernized license plate manufacturing process in late 2020 after entering into a recent agreement with Intellectual Technologies Inc. Unlike current license plates embossed with raised letters and numbers, the new plates will be flat and printed digitally, reducing the production costs of bulk manufacturing, storage space and unused inventory.
The background graphics and pricing for standard and special license plates will remain the same.
“This new process will modernize outdated technology and make the license plate issuance process more efficient for all stakeholders and vehicle owners,” said Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson. “We are excited to have a vendor on board to make this initiative a reality next year.”
Newer plates will gradually replace older license plates that have lost their reflectivity, making them easier to read by humans and electronic tolling devices. Motorists will continue to visit their local county clerk’s office to register their vehicle and leave the office with a new standard license plate featuring a new alphanumeric combination.
Using an “oldest first” approach, in late 2020 vehicle owners with license plates older than eight years will be part of the first phase of drivers offered the new plates when renewing registration. This is expected to take up to one year to complete. In year two, all other drivers will be offered the new plate design. Once a motorist receives a new plate, a sticker will be given during the annual registration visit until it is time to renew their plates again in five to seven years.
Under the current process, the state must account, store and handle over 300 license plate types at over 145 locations and two warehouses. The new process will eliminate the burdensome storage of multiple plate types at warehouses. This will save the cabinet production costs by only printing and producing standard and specialty license plates that are needed instead of mass production.
Kentucky Correctional Industries will continue to manufacture the license plates, print the requested amount and ship them directly to county clerk offices.