If you’re one of the 17 million people who drive drunk at least once every year (and come on, don’t), and not a resident of Ohio or Minnesota, you’ll probably be glad things are that way.
In 1967, Ohio started issuing special license plates to DUI offenders with limited privileges. Like any state, if the offense is severe enough, a revoked license isn’t out of the question in Ohio. But for those who are granted limited driving privileges due to DUI, like only driving to work, a special plate is issued.
This wasn’t very highly enforced until 2004, when it became mandated by state law for all offenders under a court ruled they could have full privileges back. The special plates (allegedly known as “party plates”) are shown on the right (although the real ones obviously don’t have a straight line of zeroes).
Minnesota has enforced a similar program, with plain white plates with blue or black text. In Minnesota cases, the plate number is always W followed by a letter and four numbers. These plates are only given out when a driver has at least 2 DUIs in a ten year period. The plates are referred to as whiskey plates in Minnesota, allegedly because whiskey is the name of the letter W in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
The policy hasn’t been adopted nationwide yet because some feel it is a little bit like public humiliation. The bottom line is always have a designated driver, don’t be among the 18% who regularly text behind the wheel, and if you can help it, don’t be one of the 1 in 7 Americans driving without insurance.