Driving
8:20 am
Wed December 19, 2012

New Florida Tag Design And How It's Different

NEW TAG FRONT RUNNER -- Critics call it dull but, if the governor and Cabinet approve, this will be our new license tag starting in 2014.
Credit Florida DMV

Citizens of Florida have democratically chosen a design for their state's next license tag.

You see it here: A white plate, trimmed in green with a picture of an orange, seven letters and numbers in a new font that won't confuse traffic cameras, and letters spelling "Florida" and "Sunshine State."

If Gov. Scott and the Cabinet approve, the new tags should start appearing on the road in 2014.

REMEMBER THIS? An old tag from Lake County, which was the 12th most populous county in 1938 when the county codes were devised. Dade was 1, Broward was 10, Palm Beach was 6.

Fifty thousand residents, voting online, chose the design from a group of four -- none radically different -- developed by in-house artists at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The main differences from the current tag:

  • A new font: State officials say the old license tag lettering was hard for cameras to scan and read when scofflaws ran red lights through intersections.  Reportedly, one out of six drivers was able to get away with it because the camera misread the tag number.
  • More letters and digits:There are seven letters and numbers instead of the usual six. There are a lot of mathematical rules and factors involved here but, under the strictest rules of combinations, this is a gigantic increase in the number of available tag numbers.
  • Less information: The tags no longer bear the names of drivers' home counties.

Debate over the new tag design has been loud, vigorous and mostly from two camps: Tag manufacturers -- particularly, the state prison-based PRIDE Industries -- who said they were unequipped for some of the redesign proposals, and critics who called the new design "dull" and "insipid."

State boosters also complained about the tag's lack of a website mention to increase tourism and Florida awareness.

The new tag design and roll-out cost the state about $31 million, but DMV says the cost will not be passed along to drivers.

Florida also has more than a hundred extra-cost "specialty" license tags that honor state universities, sports teams and other institutions and causes.

The Orlando Sentinel has a little slide show museum of all the specialty historic Florida license tags.