Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn is asking Ohio lawmakers to maintain the state’s requirement that vehicles have both front and rear license plates, citing to need to preserve community safety.

In a press release, the sheriff’s office indicated that House Bill 159 would eliminate the requirement for front license plates, and Senate Bill 202 would reduce a violation of the related law to a secondary offense. Both pieces of legislation are under consideration by the Ohio General Assembly and the release stated that “either of these proposals, if enacted, would have an adverse effect on community safety.”

“Most states require two license plates,” Wasylyshyn said in the release. “Currently 30 out of 50 states require front license plates because they are a proven tool for law enforcement to identify and apprehend criminal suspects. Any proposal to eliminate or dilute the front license plate requirement will inadvertently help suspects evade arrests by making detection by patrol cars, security cameras and parking records more difficult.”

The release said Wasylyshyn believes some of the support for repealing the front-plate requirement comes from a misunderstanding of the cost of a second license plate — it states that eliminating the two-plate requirement would only save 35 cents per year.

The release said front plates also give citizens, including public transit and school transportation drivers, the opportunity to identify an oncoming vehicle that commits a safety infraction. It additionally said that a front plate doubles the opportunity for a vehicle to be identified through a public or private facility’s security camera footage in the event of a crime, and also enable drivers to see a parked vehicle after dark or an oncoming vehicle with its headlights off.

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