If you drive without front plates in Washington state, can you get a ticket?

When you purchase a brand new car (or new to you) in Washington, the car dealer will hand you a temporary license plate. They will put one on the front of the car, though, because it is against the law to drive here without one.

Why do I see so many Teslas with no front license plate, which is required in my state (WA)?

This question was asked by someone on Quora and it shocked me because A) I hadn’t even noticed that, but now I will, and B) They SHOULD be driving with one because it’s the law, right?

Someone in the comments did mention that if a car has no space or option to place a front license plate, it’s okay.


OH, REALLY NOW? Let me investigate and see what the Washington state RCW has to say about THAT!

RCW 46.16A.200

(5)(a) Display. License plates must be:
(i) Attached conspicuously at the front and rear of each vehicle if two license plates have been issued;

(b)(i) The Washington state patrol may grant exceptions to this subsection if the body construction of the vehicle makes compliance with this section impossible.

So I guess there is that one exception to the rule. The rest of us, however, have to drive our cars with 2 license plates.

And now you know!


Report a typo or correction

Got a news tip? Email us here.


LOOK: Controversial songs from the year you were born

Stacker celebrates history's most boundary-pushing—and thereby controversial—songs from 1930 through today.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: 23 Child Actors Who Died Young

Stacker compiled a list of 23 child actors who died young using various sources, including news articles, interviews, and more.

Gallery Credit: Stacker