HARTINGTON — Nebraskans will begin to see new license plates on vehicles next month.
Starting in January 2017, new license plates will be issued to vehicle owners throughout the year when they renew their vehicle registration.
New plates will be issued to all passenger, farm and commercial vehicles, according to Cedar County Treasurer Jean Wiebelhaus.
“Every six years Nebraska has new designs for license plates. Everyone has to purchase a new plate,” she said.
Vehicle owners will pay $6.60 for the standard plate along with the motor vehicle and registration fees.
The top of the new plate displays the word “Nebraska” in gold lettering on a blue field. Centered in the background of the plate is the watermarked image of “The Sower,” the sculpture which sits on top of the Nebraska State Capitol. The bottom of the plate highlights 1867, the year of Nebraska’s statehood as well as 2017, the year Nebraska will celebrate its 150th birthday.
The new design was developed by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
In addition to the standard issue plate, several specialty plates are available for purchase through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Organizational plate designs include “Nebraska, The Beef State;” “Growing Nebraska,” which shows an ear of corn; “Union Pacific R.R.”; and “Nebraska Ducks Unlimited.”
The fee for the plates is $70 plus the motor vehicle and registration fees.
A specialty plate with a “Mountain Lion” design displays a Nebraskaland Magazine photo. The fee is $5 for a numeric plate or $40 for a message plate along with other fees.
Military Honor license plates can also be ordered. Choices include emblems for the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard and Navy. Applicants for these plates need to be registered with the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Registry.
Choices for license plate numbers will also be changing for vehicle owners in Nebraska.
Vehicle owners may not be able to keep the number they currently have for farm and commercial plates, according to Wiebelhaus.
In 2017, farm plates will start with 1R and continue up to 999R and then go to 1S and go up to 999S and then 1T and go up 999T.
“The largest number will be 999,” Wiebelhaus said.
There will be no four-digit numbers issued.
Commercial plates will start with 1A and go up to 999A, then 1B and up to 999B and 1C and continue up to 999C.
The same number along with the letter A through the letter H will be re-issued for passenger plates next year.
The changes are being made because the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles is taking proactive steps to protect residents from receiving erroneous notices of outstanding tolls and fines from out-of-state government agencies.
The current county specific license plates issued for farm and commercial vehicles contain a numerical sequence which may be the same number on more than five different plate types.
As states and cities are increasing the use of electronic tolling and parking enforcement, the chance for a vehicle owner in Nebraska to receive an errant notice for an outstanding ticket or toll has been increasing.
To address the issue the farm and commercial license plates issued with a county number will have an alpha character added to the end of the plate number beginning with the 2017 plate issuance year. The new plate numbering sequence will eliminate approximately 500,000 duplicate numbers.
Hundreds of Nebraska residents have contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles for assistance in resolving these erroneous notifications. In cases where Nebraskans ignore the notices, they may encounter surprising consequences such as late fees, driver license suspensions, orders for vehicle impoundment or even arrest warrants if the owner visits the state where the violation occurred.
The license plate changes are steps that are being taken to protect Nebraska residents.