Last Monday, Oklahoma state officials revealed the new license plate design. The design features a scissortail flycatcher, the state bird, on a blue background.
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department selected the new design. The design will also advertise a state tourism website. This will replace the previous design of an Apache warrior shooting an arrow into the sky.
New plates will begin issuing in January. With the new plates come an additional $5 fee when renewing an old license plate or getting a new one, applicable after August 24, 2016. Officials hope this will generate $18.5 million for the state. The plates cost $2.05 to make, with 80 percent of funds generated going to State Public Safety fund, and the other 20 percent going back to the Tax Commission for manufacturing and distribution costs.
Another $4 million is estimated to come from increased registration compliance. The new plates will also help law enforcement identify Oklahomans who are not in compliance with state laws, as the state is number one in the nation for uninsured motorists.
The state’s current plates, issued in 2009, were two years past their warranty. According to Oklahoma Safety Council Executive Director Dave Koeneke, this is a safety issue, as the reflective sheeting may be deteriorating, making it difficult to see the plates at night.
Reactions to the design have been divided, both at a state level and at TU. Max Yerokhin, a freshman, likes the new plates, as they look “less technical” and are more colorful than the current ones. But others prefer the old design. “It doesn’t represent the state,” Josie Worthington, a sophomore, said, adding “it looks childish.” Shona Horrocks, a freshman, echoed her statement, liking the Indian statue featured on current plates. While student Jessica Hickerson thinks the new design is “a little bland,” she acknowledged the colorfulness was appealing.
Some have also taken issue with the additional fee. To Yerokhin, the fee “isn’t a big deal, but I can understand if some people would be upset.” While Worthington is not opposed to the fee, as an education major she thinks it could be spent on something other than public safety, like education — a sentiment Horrocks supports.