LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With thousands of new people moving into Nevada, including many who are new to the Silver State, it’s important to know the laws of our roads. One of the most asked-about differences newcomers are unsure of is whether Nevada requires vehicles to have both front and rear license plates.
It’s a question that is often asked after the first trip to the DMV where you pick up two plates, even though many vehicles, even in the DMV parking lot, do not have front plates.
It turns out the answer to the question of whether Nevada requires front and back plates is yes — and no.
According to Nevada law, most vehicles are required to display front and rear license plates at all times, except motorcycles and trailers, which require only a rear plate. However, vehicle owners must display both plates only if the vehicle is designed for a front plate or if the manufacturer offers an add-on bracket or frame.
Front plates are optional only if 1) the vehicle was not designed for a front plate and 2) the manufacturer did not provide an add-on bracket or other means of displaying the front plate. (NRS 482.275)
The law specifies certain vehicles are only issued a single license plate that must be displayed in the rear. Those vehicles include motorcycles and trailers.
Other rules with license plates in Nevada include:
- If the second plate is not displayed, it is the owner’s responsibility to store the second plate and surrender or return both plates to the department at the appropriate time.
- License plates must at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle so as to prevent the plate from swinging and at a height not less than 12 inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom of such plate, in a place and position to be clearly visible.
- It must be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible.
- License plate specifications call for plates to be readable from a distance of 100 feet during daylight.
- At night, plates must be readable from 110 feet when lit by standard headlights. Rear plates must display a decal with the month and year of expiration. (NRS 482.270)
- Registration decals that indicate the month and year of expiration are placed on the upper right-hand corner of the rear plate. Your registration expires on the exact date listed on the slip; it is not valid until the end of the month.
- Motorcycles and trailers under 1,000 pounds gross weight are issued small plates. Trailers 1,000 pounds and over are issued a full-size plate.
- Plate frames or covers are not prohibited as long as the above requirements are met and the plate is clearly legible.