Non-passenger plates encompass a wide variety of types. Sometimes it relates to the vehicle (e.g., truck, trailer) while other times it speaks to the registrant (e.g., handicap, dealer). In any case the plates are distinguished from the passenger plates in different ways. Let’s take a closer look…
(Note: Veteran and Tribal plates can be found in And P lates For All)
I. Truck -With designation or separate design
The truck/commercial plates above are distinguished from their passenger counterparts in an immediately noticeable way, often with a word or abbreviation.
II. Truck – With variant serial or sticker
The truck/commercial plates above differ from their passenger counterparts only in the serial format. For example, the California plates would consist of one letter, three numbers, and three letters in order if they were passenger plates.
A variety of trailer plates. As with truck plates, some states issue them on a separate design or remove graphics, while others just have a different serial combination.
IV. RVs, Mobile Homes, and Campers
RV plates from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota & Missouri; Mobile Home plates from Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon & Wisconsin; Camper plates from Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Washington.
Many states issue a handicap plate which includes the wheelchair symbol, the letters “DP” in the serial, or some other leading indication. In the examples above, Florida is an outlier, with a metal tab affied to the lower left of the plate.
Bus plates from various states, many of them school buses.
Many dealer plates contain a “D” or “DL” in the serial; only a handful of the above are issued on the same design as the passenger type.
VIII. Farm Trucks & Trailers/Tractors
Farm-related vehicles may or may not specify “Farm” as well as the type of vehicle.
IX. Antique Car
Many states issue a specialized plate for antique autos. What qualifies as an antique auto varies from state to state.
X. National Guard
National Guard plates typically feature a guardsmen and a jet.
XI. Exempt/Public Vehicles
Many of the plates above are related to public use, public service, and exempt status. KCC stands for Kansas Corporation Commission, P.U.C. for Public Utility Commission, H.U.P. for Highway Use Permit.
More “unusual” types: California amateur radio; Connecticut repair (issued to tow trucks, e.g.); Illinois amateur radio, funeral home, non-profit vehicle, power/apportioned (a truck plate but rare for use of word POWER), tow truck, and livery (chauffer/limo/taxi); Indiana non-motor vehicles (issued to Amish jurisdictions); Iowa special mobile equipment; Kentucky Derby festival (issued to vehicles used during a given year’s Kentucky Derby); Maryland multi-purpose vehicle; Massachusetts ambulance; Mississippi ambulance and rental car; Nebraska grain buyer; Nevada two mileage tax plates (probably a type of truck), and motor carrier; New Jersey PGA-related (similar to KY Derby plate, the 1962 PGA Championship was held in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia); New York taxi; Oregon power unit and heavy permanent (type of truck or fleet vehicle); Pennsylvania “Suburban” (used on station wagons from 1960 to 1964); South Carolina taxi; South Dakota ambulance-hearse; Texas machinery (for vehicles used in certain types of construction or water well drilling), radio operator, combination (truck or truck-tractor combined with a semi-trailer), gulf shrimp; Vermont temporary (see the circled “T” in lower right corner); Washington wrecker; West Virginia auto auction.