AGSA #TreatGunsLikeCars Meme: Why Did States Start Requiring License Plates?


Why did states start passing laws requiring license plates for cars in 1901? The answer may surprise you!

"Though the new law put an extra burden on drivers, they were left 'rejoicing' at news the bill was signed, wrote the New York Tribune. The reason was that, before the law passed, local regulations often differed—which meant that not only were the laws hard to follow, but also that drivers often found themselves losing out to people who got around the old-fashioned way. As the New York Times reported, 'automobilists found that in many instances they were not accorded equal rights with the drivers of horses, and the confusion resulting from these various laws led to the need of a uniform standard.'”

"It wasn’t a wild idea in 1901 that automobiles were suffering from the lack of official acknowledgement: the New York Tribune later echoed that 'one of the objects of the law was to put a stop to the harassing of the owners of automobiles with local regulations,' and the journal Turf, Field and Farm called cars an 'unnatural vehicle' in their reporting on the bill. After the licensing and registration law passed, however, local authorities—even if they controlled a highway or street—could not ban cars from using it. The law also imposed a minimum speed limit (8 mph in cities and 15 mph in rural areas) below which local speed limits could not go."

Source: This Is Why Cars Have License Plates, TIME

By MERRILL FABRY April 25, 2016