Specialty Plates in Florida on Probation

Whether you’re cheering for the Florida Gators or you actually support Florida gators, there’s a plate for that.

Florida offers drivers 120 specialty license plates ranging from the environment to the arts. There’s a plate for Boy Scouts but no Girl Scout plate. The ladies are good at selling cookies, but couldn’t sell enough tags to stay on the list.

“If you don’t keep up and don’t have a thousand out on the road in a year then you get put on probation,” said Kirsten Olsen-Doolan with Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.

One year below a thousand and the plate is nixed. The Hispanic Achievers and the St. Johns River plates both started 2013 on probation.

“It’s hard to get a start up plate going,” said Mark Middlebrook.

By phone, we spoke to Mark Middlebrook with the St Johns River Alliance. 400 plates have been sold. Mark’s confident he’ll reach a thousand.

“The St. Johns River has been kind of over looked as an environmental resource in Florida for many, many years,” said Middlebrook

Specialty tags cost extra. The additional money goes to support the cause. So far, the St Johns plate has raised 10,000 dollars to protect the river and its tributaries.

We checked in parking lots all over Tallahassee, but the two plates on probation were nowhere to be found.

But we did find plenty Choose Life plates. Shelia Hopkins with the Florida Catholic Conference says it’s always a top seller.

“It’s been a strong plate in Florida and they have over the years been in the top 10 for plates sold,” said Hopkins.

Frustrated with the growing number of tags, state legislators passed a new law requiring groups to pre-sell a thousand plates before manufacturing begins.

Florida’s specialty plate program began 1987. The first tag commemorated the Challenger explosion. Only three plates have ever been discontinued; the Girl Scouts plate, the Tampa Storm and Orlando Predators Arena football plates. Already this year a bill has been filed to create yet another plate. The Sun, Sea and Smiles tag would benefit the Caribbean Charitable Foundation.

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