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Iowa ‘black out’ plates approved, available

Iowa black out plates now available at the Union County Courthouse. The black out style was approved during Iowa's most recent legislative session after concerns were brought to state lawmaker's attention about motorists modifying Dordt University plates.
Iowa black out plates now available at the Union County Courthouse. The black out style was approved during Iowa's most recent legislative session after concerns were brought to state lawmaker's attention about motorists modifying Dordt University plates.

The Iowa Department of Transportation released a new design Monday. The newest addition to the Iowa DOT’s options is the “blackout” plate — an all-black plate with white lettering, which was authorized during the most recent legislative session.

Motorists can order the new plate online, by mail or in person at the Union County Courthouse. It’s offered as both a standard alpha-numeric plates for $25 and a personalized plate for $60. Iowa Prison Industries will make the plates and ship them to the county treasurer’s office, who will notify motorists when their plates arrive. Motorists must relinquish their current plates at the time of picking up their new plates.

Renewal fees are $10 and $15 for standard and personalized plates, respectively. Funds collected for the blackout plate will go to the Road Use Tax Fund, which funds state, county, and city road and bridge projects throughout Iowa.

Union County Treasurer Kelly Busch said the legislation was passed to help prevent motorists from purchasing plates and using tape to modify them.

“People were purchasing the Dordt College plate and they’re putting electrical tape on them to make the completely black,” said Busch.

License plates are a tool used by law enforcement and others to help identify a vehicle. This identification can be life-saving in the case of criminal activity or in the event of an Amber Alert. Busch reminds motorists to not modify their license plates in a way that obscures or blocks the numbers and letters and county information on a plate, which includes the use of license plates that might hinder the identification information and violates state law.

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