PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — You may think that buying a license plate frame is a cool way to put a unique spin on your car but did you know that some of them may actually be illegal in the state of Pennsylvania?
Now, owning a license plate frame or cover in itself not illegal, but there are some limitations to what you can do with your license plate.
According to Title 75, section 1332 of the Pennsylvania Code:
It is unlawful to display on any vehicle a registration plate which:
(1) is so dirty as to prevent the reading of the number or letters thereon at a reasonable distance;
(2) is illegible, obscured, covered or otherwise obstructed in any manner which inhibits the proper operation of an automated red light enforcement system in place pursuant to section 3116 (relating to automated red light enforcement systems in first class cities) or 3117 (relating to automated red light enforcement systems in certain municipalities) or any other automated enforcement system authorized by this title or an electronic toll collection system as authorized under 74 Pa.C.S. § 8117 (relating to electronic toll collection);
(3) is illegible, obscured, covered or otherwise obstructed in any manner at a reasonable distance;
(4) is illegible, obscured, covered or otherwise obstructed in any manner which inhibits the visibility of the issuing jurisdiction at a reasonable distance; or
(5) has a tinted plate coverTitle 75, section 1332
Basically, if you have a tinted cover over your plate or a license plate frame that covers any letters or numbers where they can not be seen at a reasonable distance, you are breaking the law.
Section 1332 states that any person who violates this law commits a summary offense and can be sentenced to pay a fine of $100 if they are convicted.
The reason for the law is due to many road systems use license plates to either collect tolls or issue tickets. For example, red light cameras or the toll-by-plate function that is currently in use on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
So, yes, you are allowed to own a license plate frame or cover in Pennsylvania, but you just need to make sure that it is totally visible, not tinted, and not dirty.