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006-08 License Plate Inventory and "Needs Replacement" Program

Registration and Title Bulletin - #006-08

Date: March 5, 2008

To: All County Tax Assessor-Collectors

Subject: License Plate Inventory and "Needs Replacement" Program

These documents contain text of correspondence sent by TxDOT to the county tax assessor-collectors, statutory agents who provide vehicle registration and titling services for citizens in Texas. This information is provided to apprise the general public of issues affecting the state's vehicle titling and registration process.


To provide you information concerning the current inventory levels of general issue license plates and request your assistance regarding replacement plate issuance under the "Needs Replacement" program.


The Vehicle Titles and Registration Division has experienced a significant increase (34 percent) in license plate issuance this year compared to the same time period last year. Recent county inventory reorder requests for general issue passenger plates have increased in frequency and volume, reducing stock to a critically low level.

We anticipate this trend to continue due to:

  • Changes to the plate age calculation in the Registration and Title System from renewal period to "birth date" (refer to Registration and Title Bulletin #019-07). The recalculation resulted in an increased volume of plates reaching seven years of age.
  • Plate-to-owner legislation which mandated motor vehicle dealers to remove license plates from vehicles received in trade. Few plate owners appear to be transferring their plates to another vehicle. This failure to transfer may potentially result in the issuance of two to three million more new plates annually than were previously required.
  • The current general issue license plate was released in July 2000 and, at that time, there was an increase in replacement plates issued to vehicle owners wanting the new design. These plates are now in the window of mandatory replacement.
  • We also anticipate an increase in replacement plate issuance with the release of the new general issue design in January 2009. Public interest in a new plate design is high as the e-vote for the new general issue license plate resulted in over 1.1 million votes cast.


To assist us in off-setting the increased plate production requirements, we ask that you not encourage customers to replace license plates under the "Needs Replacement" program unless the plate has reached the mandatory replacement age of seven years.

Unless, the plates have been significantly damaged in some way, there should be no safety or legibility factor that would require replacement of the plates prior to that time. At seven years, the customer is notified of the need to replace the plates through receipt of a vehicle registration renewal notice with the remark "New Plates Required."


If you have any questions or need any additional information, please contact your local Vehicle Titles and Registration Division Regional Office. You may also call Mike Craig, Deputy Director, or

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