Memo to Nevada motorists: License plates aren’t optional

Updated September 10, 2017 - 4:39 pm

License plates aren’t an optional decoration. They’re a requirement so that your vehicle legally can hit the road in Nevada and every other state.

Apparently, some motorists don’t realize that as several of you have sent emails or placed a call to the Road Warrior to complain about cars driving around town without their front or rear license plates.

There were even a couple of questions about the legality of plates that are obscured by plastic “protective” coverings.

Law enforcement officers need to be able to see license plates from 100 feet during the day and 110 feet at night, Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Jason Buratczuk said. If your vehicle is equipped with a front bracket, then a license plate needs to go there, too.

Buratczuk noted that some sports cars or luxury vehicles don’t provide a place to display front-facing license plates. If that’s the case, then you aren’t breaking the law.

“However, if your vehicle is equipped with a front bracket and you are displaying a novelty plate from your favorite sports team, then you will get a ticket for improper display,” Buratczuk said.

NHP also enforces laws that prohibit the obstruction of license plates, including those plastic covers. Buratczuk said that he and other troopers “see it all the time.”

Failing to display license plates, or having them obscured, are misdemeanor traffic offenses that can land violators a maximum $1,000 fine and six months in jail, said Kevin Malone, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

No red-light photos

Anita from Las Vegas wanted to know why local traffic signals aren’t equipped with cameras capable of snapping photos of vehicles that illegally run through a red light. Cities equipped with these systems typically send tickets in the mail to scofflaw drivers.

Hundreds of traffic signals are equipped with cameras throughout Clark County, but the footage is relayed to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s traffic management center to keep an eye on clogged roadways.

Nevada has a law that states video recordings cannot be used to determine a traffic citation unless an active-duty law enforcement officer is operating the camera at that specific time, RTC spokeswoman Angela Castro said.

Castro added that local transit officials don’t see a need for red light cameras now.

No flashing yellow arrows

Marilyn from Las Vegas wanted to know whether the “incredibly long” signal timing could be adjusted at Rainbow Boulevard and Craig Road in the northwest valley.

“Since there isn’t much traffic here, it seems like a perfect place for flashing yellow left-turn arrows,” Marilyn wrote in an email to the Road Warrior. “I can’t tell you how much gas I’ve wasted by just waiting to turn left.”

Both directions of Craig have dual left-turn lanes at this intersection, which makes it a bad idea for flashing yellow arrows, said Gena Kendall, the traffic engineer for the city of Las Vegas.

This signal is coordinated with other nearby signals during the daytime to keep traffic moving on Craig and reduce the number of stops and delays.

“Coordinating the signals requires the use of a longer cycle length,” Kendall said. “Drivers and pedestrians that need to stop at the signal will generally have to stop and wait for a longer time during the day.”

The signal cycle should change over more quickly at night based on the decreased amount of traffic recorded at this intersection, Kendall said.

Right on Tropicana

Duane from Las Vegas wants to know whether a right-turn-only lane could be designated at northbound Fort Apache Road at Tropicana Avenue in the southwest valley.

“Most of the cars in this lane are turning right to either go under the 215 Beltway, or they are headed onto the Beltway,” Duane said. “It always seems like someone gets in this right lane for no reason other than gaining a few car lengths, and holds everyone up from turning.”

Improvements are slated for both of these roads within the next year, Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said. After the project is completed, Kulin said that the county will examine whether a dedicated right-turn lane is needed here.

Waiting on Revere

Matt from North Las Vegas wanted to know when the Revere Street exit will open to traffic on the 215 Beltway.

Revere doesn’t extend that far north yet, Kulin said. The new interchange eventually will connect to Revere, but it’s unclear when that might happen. The exit was built while the Beltway was being extended last year because it would have been more cost-effective, rather than waiting to rebuild the intersection later on.

Questions and comments should be sent to Please include your phone number. Find @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

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