Contrary to appearances, licenses plates are required

We are not super crazy about holiday weekends in these parts, partly because we rarely get the day off but mostly because all of our reliable sources do, which can leave a reporter in a pickle on deadline. Fortunately plenty of readers had registration and other Department of Motor Vehicle-related questions, and our friend Tom Jacobs was able to bail us out.

Strangely, we received the following question from a handful of people this week. We like snarky so we went with Bill: We are relatively new to Las Vegas, having moved here from Texas. Since moving to Nevada, it seems as if we see vehicles being driven around minus their license plates on an almost daily basis, and we wonder whether Las Vegas is the "no license plate" capital of the world! Is it actually legal to do this here, or are these drivers just trusting their luck and getting away with it?

Bill isn’t exaggerating; it is not unusual during a quick errand to see one or two vehicles without plates or temporary permits. This is Vegas, and those scofflaws are rolling the dice. Yes, Bill, Nevada does require motorists to display their license plates as outlined in NRS 482.275.

"My initial reaction is they’re unregistered, and law enforcement would probably come to the same conclusion," said Jacobs, spokesman for the DMV. "But unless there is a specific example, it’s hard to tell. It is possible they are registered and the only law they’re breaking is displaying the plate."

In Nevada, motorists are also required to display two plates, one on the back and one on the front, if the vehicles provides holes or brackets on the front bumper. Newer models and luxury vehicles often do not have a place to display plates in the front, and in those cases, the plate does not have to be attached. Motorists are still required to keep the second plate in their vehicle.

Anita is curious about kiosks: Can you tell me whether you actually receive your tags when you register your car at the kiosks in the Department of Motor Vehicles office?

Yes Anita, you will receive your tags right on the spot. The newer kiosks at the DMV have been written about extensively, but I must admit I was surprised at how convenient they are. Rather than waiting an average of 20 minutes — and that is being generous — for your number to be called, the transaction at the kiosks takes about two minutes.

Motorists may pay with a credit card or cash, and the kiosks can be used even if your registration is late.

Going back to our buddy Jacobs, he tells me that these are the only kiosks of their kind in the country. Other departments have machines where you can pay your registration, but the tags are mailed. Still others don’t allow cash transactions.

Chet asks: My wife and I recently noticed something. The alpha characters on the Nevada license plates have a strange appearance to us. We have seen many recently that begin with the letter X. Our plates were issued back in 1996. Our first letter is N. Can you tell me how the state organizes the issue of the letters in the plates?

Interesting question, Chet. The license plates are distributed in mass quantity and in sequential order to DMV offices throughout the state. So, the office in Mesquite will get the 123 ABC plates and so will Las Vegas.

The offices in metropolitan areas are far busier than rural communities, so they go through their plates much faster.

"Slow offices could get a collection of ABC 123, and they could hang around for a long period of time," Jacobs said. "Some offices could be issuing the ABCs while another is getting a shipment of DEFs."

Just a little side note: The DMV skips Os because they look too much like zeroes.

OK, enough of Jacobs and the DMV. Chris has this trivia question: Who was Losee Road named after?

It thought this might be a trick question because Chris’s last name is quite similar to Losee. But, alas, it is not named after Chris. Losee was named after Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Losee, who purchased Kyle Ranch in North Las Vegas after its owners Ed and William Kiel were murdered in 1900.

This has nothing to do with roads, but it’s an interesting little story so what the heck. The Losees owned the ranch from 1939 to 1958 and during that time converted it to the Boulderado Dude Ranch. That ranch was specifically a residence for people who came to Las Vegas to file for divorce. Las Vegas of course had a reputation for quick and easy divorces.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at 702-387-2904, or send an email to roadwarrior Include your phone number.

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