NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 17, 2005

A Tampa Bay-area senator wants Floridians to think pink before they have a drink. Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), has filed a bill that would require "bright pink" license plates on vehicles driven by people with restricted driving privileges resulting from a conviction for driving under the influence.

Filed Nov. 1, Senate Bill 538 calls for the first three characters on the pink license plate to read "DUI." The bill also says police "may stop any vehicle that bears a DUI plate without probable cause to check the driver."

  • If passed, Florida would join Ohio and Michigan as states with a punitive license plate law for DUI offenders.
  • Many states have considered similar legislation, including Tennessee this year, but most bills have died after debate about privacy issues.

Nicknamed "scarlet letter plates" in Ohio, the yellow tags with red letters are issued at a judge's discretion to people with multiple DUI convictions and restricted driving privileges, said Fred Stratmann, a spokesman for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If passed in Florida, Fasano's bill would affect tens of thousands of drivers:

  • About 840,000 of Florida's 15 million licensed drivers have an "active DUI sanction" on their driving records.
  • And a small percentage of those have limited driving privileges, such as permission to drive only to and from work.
  • Statewide, there were 45,926 convictions for DUI in 2004, up 9 percent from 2003.
  • Hillsborough County had 4,971 convictions in 2004, a 21 percent increase from the previous year.

Source: Associated Press, "Fla. Senator Proposes Pink Tags for DUI,", November 15, 2005.


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