COLUMBUS—Today, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) introduced legislation to make driving without a front license plate a secondary rather than primary violation. With this change, law enforcement officers would be unable to stop motorists strictly because their vehicle does not feature two license plates. Senate bill 202 is entitled the, “Dubose Was a Beacon Act.” The title is a reference to Samuel Dubose, who was killed in an encounter with a University of Cincinnati police officer last month after being pulled over for only displaying one license plate.
“There is consensus that minor traffic violations should not end with the deaths of any more of our citizens,” said Senator Thomas. “This legislation further limits the likelihood of contentious and potentially violent encounters between police and citizens.”
Law enforcement groups from across the state voiced opposition to legislative proposals that would completely eliminate the front license plate requirement, arguing that vehicles having two plates are easier to identify for the purposes of criminal investigations. Senator Thomas was mindful of this perspective, as he initially advocated for a complete elimination of the front plate.
“From an enforcement standpoint, officers cannot possibly stop every car that doesn’t have a front plate. Selective enforcement of current law has been biased and proven to be impractical,” said Senator Thomas. “However, after listening to the concerns of several agencies, I decided to proceed in the spirit of compromise. I am confident this legislation will attract bipartisan support, as similar language in the House already exists with co-sponsorship from members of both parties.”