Idaho Transportation

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563


Four new plates introduced; available in digital form

ITD, its Division of Motor Vehicles, and the Idaho Department of Correction jointly unveiled four new license plate designs -- the first to be produced in a new digital format during a Tuesday news conference at Correctional Industries.

Sales began Tuesday (Sept. 24) for the Breast Cancer Awareness, Idaho Historic Preservation, Elks Rehabilitation Hospital and National Rifle Association plates. Representatives of the organizations were present when samples of the plate were introduced. Sen. John McGee served as master of ceremonies while ITD Deputy Director Scott Stokes and Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke spoke at the event.

The digital license plate process represents a more efficient production method and offers sponsoring organizations the opportunity to use more detailed, higher resolution graphics than currently available on specialty plates.

With more than 60 specialty plate programs (of which 36 are currently available at the county offices), and with more programs being added through the Legislative process, Idaho will use the newest technology in the production of license plates. Idaho joins more than a dozen other states in the use of digital “flat” license plates.

Through this new process, motorists still will go into a county office to receive standard-issue license plates. However, if a motorist would like to obtain a specialty program plate to support one of numerous causes, he or she will pay the appropriate fees, and will receive a temporary registration that is valid for 45 days.

The sequential number assigned to the plate will be generated by the state’s registration system, and will be the next available number.

The order then will proceed to Correctional Industries, (Idaho’s license plate producer), where the plate will be manufactured, (or pulled from the existing embossed inventory) and mailed directly back to the motorist.

Four new plate programs will benefit from the new technology immediately.

New plates in digital format:

The National Rifle Association program: All additional funds will be deposited into the Highway Distribution Account and made available to state and local jurisdictions through the existing distribution formula.

The Breast Cancer Education and Screening program: Proceeds will benefit Idaho community health centers and will be used for education and screening of women who lack insurance coverage or funds to pay for services related to breast cancer education and screening.

The Idaho Elks Rehabilitation program: Proceeds will go to the hospital in Boise and help provide rehabilitative programs and services in specialized areas including pediatrics, brain injury, stroke, hearing and balance, the wound clinic, and physical, speech and occupational therapies.

The Idaho Historic Preservation program: Proceeds will be used by the Idaho Historic Society to protect and preserve the state’s heritage and cultural resources.

The digital license plate technology brings other benefits to the state, counties and motorists.

  • The process reduces the amount of inventory required in each motor vehicle office. They now must maintain an inventory of every available plate type.
  • The new process reduces expenses to Idaho citizens. The new system will enable automated ordering and inventory management control, through a new inventory system. It will be similar to “just in time” production and alleviates the “over-ordering” of license plates.
  • County motor vehicle offices no longer will be required to find additional storage for each new plate program approved in the future.
  • The new plates are of a lighter, more durable aluminum, which saves motorists in rising aluminum costs.
  • When fully implemented, the system will allow an increase to six characters on specialty plates, which currently are restricted to five.
  • The new technology allows a wider variety of colors to be used in the design and production of specialty plates. Each program sponsor of current specialty plate programs will have the opportunity to provide new, more detailed graphics upon the depletion of current embossed stock.
  • With the new system, it will be much easier to adopt new plate programs as approved by the legislature, as each individual design will not have to be exclusively printed on rolls of graphic material to be adhered to aluminum. This also reduces the time needed to get a plate program into production.

Actual issuance of digital plates will depend on plate type and program since varying inventories of each exist. ITD will continue to use the remaining inventory of embossed special and standard license plates until the supplies are depleted to eliminate waste and expenditure of resources.

Motorists will not be required to replace their current plates, until their seven-year reissue requirement is met. Under Idaho law, license plates are valid (upon annual registration renewal) for seven years before they must be replaced. Idaho will have a mix of embossed and digital plates on the highway for the next several years.

For all personalized/special-request plates, applications must be mailed or faxed to ITD in Boise. Motorists also can use the Web-based application available online at .

Applicants will receive a temporary registration if requested and the order will be produced
by Correctional Industries, drawing from old stock when available, or digital versions if stock has been exhausted.

Published 9-28-07