4501-27-01 License plate specifications.

(A) This rule contains the specifications for the manufacture of license plates for the state of Ohio.

(B) The license plate shall consist of a substrate of galvanized steel, with an application of white or white blended with another color retroreflective multi-year sheeting, which shall constitute the background color of the license plate. The color of the lettering and numbers and the design of the plate shall be designated by the director of public safety. The finished license plate shall contain any logo, inscription, or design feature prescribed by law and may contain any logo, inscription, or other design feature as designated by the director.

(C) The galvanized steel substrate shall have satisfactory strength while retaining flatness after embossing. It shall not crack or break when embossed with standard embossing dies used to manufacture license plates. The galvanized steel shall conform to ASTM A653, "Standard Specification for Steel Sheet, Zinc-Coated (Galvanized) or Zinc-Iron Alloy-Coated (Galvannealed) by the Hot-Dip Process," approved November 1, 2010 (ASTM A653/A653M-10); or approved June 1, 2007 (ASTM A653/A653M-07); or approved May 1, 2004 (ASTM A653/A653M-04a); or approved December 10, 1998 (ASTM A653/A653M-98a), and shall have a G-90 coating designation to retard corrosion and requiring no phosphate coating. The thickness of the galvanized steel shall be nineteen one-thousandths inch plus or minus three one-thousandths inch continuous galvanized, zinc chromated. The supplier of the steel shall warrant the substrate of the license plate for a minimum of four years. At the director's discretion, the director may require the manufacturer to provide a certification from an independent testing facility stating that the galvanized steel meets the standards as specified in this rule. ASTM standards are available from the "American Society for Testing and Materials, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 19428, (610) 832-9500, web site: http://www.astm.org." ASTM standards incorporated by reference in this rule may be viewed at the "Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Legal Services, 1970 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223."

(D) The retroreflective sheeting shall have sufficient adherence to the substrate to remain firmly attached during the license plate manufacturing process and for a minimum service life of four years. The supplier of the sheeting shall warrant the sheeting for a minimum of four years. At the director's discretion, the director may require the manufacturer to provide a certification from an independent testing facility stating that the sheeting meets the standards as specified in this rule.

(E) The photometric retroreflective performance values of the white sheeting, when new, shall be no less than fifty as described below:

Observation angle Incidence angle
0.2 -4 30
  50 (minimum) 20(minimum)

(Photometric retroreflective performance values are expressed as minimum candlepower/foot-candle/square foot of white retroreflective license plate sheeting. If the background color consists of white blended with another color these performance values apply only to the unblended white portion of the plate.)

Measurements shall be computed in accordance with standard photometric procedure as set forth in federal specification LS 300 C, "Sheeting and Tape, Reflective: Non-Exposed Lens," dated July 12, 1974, and as incorporated in ASTM D4956 , "Standard Specification for Retroreflective sheeting for Traffic Control," 1995, and shall be expressed as candlepower/foot-candle/square foot. The white retroreflective sheeting shall retain a minimum photometric retroreflective performance value of at least twenty-five candlepower/foot-candle/square foot rating at the end of four years under normal use and conditions on a passenger vehicle. In no case shall the minimum test using clean rear license plates be less than twenty-five candlepower/foot-candle/square foot.

(F) Except as otherwise provided in this rule, the dimensions of the license plate shall be twelve inches in width and six inches in height. The plate shall have bolt holes blanked with center-to-center spacing of seven inches, centered horizontally, and four and three-quarters inches, centered vertically.

(G) The dimensions of license plates for motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and any all-purpose vehicles required by statute to display a license plate shall be seven inches in width and four inches in height. The plate shall have bolt holes blanked with center-to-center spacing of five and three-fourths inches, centered horizontally, and two and three-fourths inches, centered vertically.

(H) The registrar of motor vehicles shall prepare and submit to the director for the director's approval detailed specifications for the materials and processes to be used in the manufacture of license plates. The specifications shall conform to all statutory provisions and this rule and shall include:

(1) The specific properties of the substrate, the reflective material, the ink or paint for the numerals and letters, and any other materials or processes necessary for the manufacture and distribution of each class of plates;

(2) The dimensions and the stroke-width of the numerals and letters for each class of plates;

(3) The service life of each class of plates;

(4) The series numbers for each class of plates; and

(5) Any other specifications necessary for the manufacture, packaging, storage, and distribution of the plates.

(I) If it is technologically practical to do so, the license plate may contain graphic symbols showing the date of expiration and the county of registration name or number in lieu of a validation sticker or county identification sticker.

(J) The director shall review the specifications submitted by the registrar and shall approve or modify them or return them to the registrar with instructions to revise and resubmit them. Specifications modified or approved by the director shall be returned to the registrar with instructions to order the manufacture of license plates in such quantities as the registrar determines are necessary to meet motor vehicle registration requirements.

Effective: 10/22/2011
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 06/14/2011 and 03/10/2016
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: R.C. 4503.22
Rule Amplifies: R.C. 4503.22
Prior Effective Dates: 7/1/76, 2/13/81, 10/16/82, 2/9/87, 2/12/93, 6/13/96, 7/16/01, 1/15/04