Special vs. personalized plates

Published 10:15 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

While personalized plates are leading the way, so are special plates.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles currently offers more than 200 different special plates that drivers can choose from. These plates serve as the decorative border for the plate number, and can be both scenic and philanthropic.

“They’re popular too, but of course they generate use for each other,” said Melanie Stokes, public and media relations manager for DMV.

Non-profit organizations can sponsor special plates, which help bring in money for the organization’s operations.

“It’s called revenue sharing,” Stokes said. “After 1,000 sets of plates have been purchased, $15 of the $25 annual fee goes to the benefiting organization. It generates a lot of revenue for non-profit organizations, colleges and causes. It’s a great program for Virginia.”

Last year, more than 1.2 million special plates were sold in Virginia, which is roughly 16 percent of all vehicles registered.

Additionally, the majority of people who personalize their license plates will also opt to select a special plate. Last year, of the 1,058,255 personalized plates sold in Virginia, 619,198 of those were also on special plates.

According to the DMV Web site, about 22 percent of drivers have some sort of personalization of their license plates — whether through personalized plates or special plates.

In order for a special plate to be offered, the plate must be passed by legislation by the General Assembly, Then, the plate has to get 350 prepaid applications to pass forward.

According the DMV Web site, an organization could get its own license plate in about nine months, if all criteria are met.

To view all of the special plate options offered in the state of Virginia, visit the DMV’s Web site at www.dmvnow.com, or visit your local DMV.