A petition is circulating calling for the B.C. government to revoke a law requiring car owners to have frontal license plates.
Tyler Fleury, the person who started the petition, writes that front license plates no longer serve a purpose and “look distasteful as well as decrease the value of our vehicles.” He notes that B.C. is currently only one of four provinces that require front license plates, the other three being Ontario, Newfoundland, and Manitoba.
Sales director at Regency Auto Group Izzam Ahmed has grown up around cars his whole life – the Regency Auto Group is his family business – and he says he understands why people might not want front license plates on their vehicles.
“The reason for [front license plates] was for radar detecting equipment,” Ahmed tells Vancity Buzz. “The authorities aren’t allowed to use radar anymore, so the argument is invalid.”
He says many modern car manufacturers don’t design vehicles with front license plates in mind, meaning they have to go in awkward places or require holes to be drilled in the front bumper. In some cases, they even hamper safety equipment technology such as automatic braking.
“What happens is it takes information from two cameras, one of which is inside the grille. If you are placing a license plate bracket on the grill, you’re compromising the feasibility of that equipment,” says Ahmed. “The technology’s not able to work the way it should be.”
When reading comments on the petition – which had more than 1,130 signatures at the time of publication – aesthetics seems to largely be the reason that people sign it.
“As an avid car enthusiast the front licence plate completly destroys the smooth curves of my Toyota MR2 and I want to remove my front plate so badly. While i was driving through alberta last summer all the cars looked far better without a front plate. PLEASE!” Writes commenter Kevin Minato.
“I just bought a brand new beautiful Scion FRS. There is no appropriate spot for a front licence plate. I do not want to have to drill holes into my front bumper just to display a plate,” writes Daniel Kyllo.
Ahmed says given Vancouver’s reputation as the supercar capital of North America, an overwhelming concern for aesthetics is hardly surprising.
“Once you drill a hole in the bumper, it devalues the car and the overall look of it. We’re trying to celebrate the ownership of vehicles in Vancouver and B.C. We can’t really celebrate the look of a car with a useless piece of metal on the front.”
ICBC, however, begs to differ on the front license plate issue. In an emailed statement, spokeswoman Lindsay Olsen tells Vancity Buzz there’s good reason to keep them right where they are.
“While the single plate concept has been considered in the past, it’s been determined that a two plate model is the best choice for British Columbia due to a number of benefits,” she says. “These include benefits to road safety, law enforcement, stolen vehicle recovery, insurance claims investigations, tolling authorities, Amber alert partners, municipalities, parking lot companies and the trucking industry.”
To sign the petition, click here.