Q: California has the right to add $200 a year to your registration if you don’t have a front license plate. FasTrak reads your front plate when you cross a bridge if you don’t have a transponder. There’s extra work for them and for cops who have to go behind you to check your plates.
Ron Z., Palo Alto
A: This is one of the costs of not having a front license plate. Today is another day of no-front-plate stories.
Q: I took my son to the DMV to take his road test. The agent escorted my son to our car, did a walk-around inspection and then stated that he could not perform the driving test because the vehicle had no front license plate. Fortunately, the plate was in the trunk. After installing it, my son got back in line and passed the test that day.
John M., Volcano
A: Relieved dad, happy new driver.
Q: My first car was a quick little sports car and, being young in the ’80s, on many occasions I was pulled over for speeding. Police would give warnings and tell me the law required a front plate, too.
Then they would just write the fix-it ticket for no front plates. I would put the plate on, get it signed off, then take it off again. That saved me from tickets and traffic school a number of times.
Joel Trice, Roseville
A: Now we go to Berkeley for another tale.
Q: My father has worked in Berkeley since the early ’90s. He has parked along San Pablo Avenue in practically the same spot every day. One day he got a ticket for no front plate while his truck was parked. I, being a police officer, signed off on it.
About a month later, he received another one. I signed off on it again, but this time I screwed on his front plate and told him to stop ticking off the meter maid. They have more important things to do.
Tim Saephanh, Crockett
A: You may have saved him several more tickets.
Q: I was on San Tomas Expressway, waiting for a turn signal when a motorcycle cop drove up and asked what my rear license plate meant. Spelled phonetically, I told him, it was Wine Lover. He didn’t ticket me for no front plate.
Suzanne Sawyer, Los Gatos
A: Here’s a story showing the importance of front plates. Security video shows that four people got out of a car without a front plate and broke into a house in Palo Alto recently. Police are having a harder time tracking them down because of that missing plate. It matters.
Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at [email protected] or 408-920-5335.