Why You Might Not See ‘Whiskey Plates’ Anymore in Minnesota
Those plain white 'whisky plates' you occasionally see on vehicles here in Minnesota might soon be a thing of the past.
Just what are 'whiskey plates?'
I'll admit, I had no idea what 'whiskey plates' were when I first moved to Minnesota nearly a decade ago. I'd lived behind the cheddar curtain over in Wisconsin my entire life, where there isn't such a thing as 'whiskey plates'. My wife pointed one out to me, and told me what they were. They're the plain white license plates the state of Minnesota makes you put on your car if you get a DWI, right?
The state of Minnesota calls them 'special registration plates'
Technically, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety / Division of Vehicle Services, they're called 'special registration plates' and you have to put them on your vehicle if the state, in addition to convicting you of an enhanced DWI violation, also impounds your vehicle's regular license plates.
According to this Ask A Trooper column, they're commonly referred to as 'whiskey plates' because they start with the letter W. They were introduced in the mid-'90s as a way to let everyone else know-- including law enforcement officers-- that you (or whoever owns the car with the whisky plates on them) were convicted of driving drunk, the story says.
But those 'whiskey plates' could soon be a replaced
But they might soon be going away here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. This KIMT-TV story says that the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year passed a provision that will replace 'whiskey plates' with an ignition interlock system for those convicted of a DWI violation
The Minnesota DPS/DVS says ignition interlock devices prevent a vehicle from starting if it detects a certain alcohol concentration level after the driver blows into the tube. They've actually been around in Minnesota since 2011. Proponents of the new option say it will keep more drunk drivers off the roads in Minnesota, where the 'whiskey plates,' were only a form of public 'shaming,' and still allowed those who've had alcohol to drive the vehicle.
KIMT says the new measure, aimed at making roads safer in Minnesota, allows current and future 'whiskey plate' holders can request to join the program but will need to pay an extra $100 for new license plates. (You can read more on the initial proposal from earlier this spring HERE.)
Getting a DWI can be expensive, even before having to install a new ignition interlock system in your vehicle. It can deplete your bank account in a hurry, and make your insurance way more expensive too. Which could make it tough to afford that slick new sports car you've had your eye on. Speaking of sports cars, keep scrolling to see which iconic car made its debut the year you were born!