Q: Kevin Lavelle of Rancho Cucamonga, who has been following the progression of California license plates for decades, noted that California is nearing the end of being able to use its current seven-character letter-number combination format on standard plates.
He said: “9ZZZ999 is coming. What will be the next sequence? Will it be A001AAA?
A: First, a quick explanation: since 1980, California’s standard license plates have used what is called a “Numeral Alpha Alpha Alpha Numeral Numeral Numeral” or 1AAA000, pattern that works sequentially (1AAA000 to 1AAA001, and so on. So, it’s a number, then three letters, then three numbers). The first number is not related to the model year of the car, as some people may believe.
“California is now in series 9EWZ000-9EWZ999 and the current sequence will end at 9ZZZ999, which is projected to be sometime in 2027,” DMV spokesman Ronald Ongtoaboc said.
How the DMV will handle the change once the current setup is finalized remains to be seen, but the agency has plenty of time to figure it out.
“DMV is still considering its options regarding the upcoming sequential license plate configuration,” Ongtoaboc said.
Q: We’ve had some readers ask how to get a handicap parking placard if they’ve lost or misplaced theirs and can’t find it.
A: The Department of Motor Vehicles issues them to qualified drivers.
If the original placard is lost, stolen, or misplaced, the quickest way is to complete and submit a form on the DMV website. Here is the link: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv-virtual-office/dpp-application/dpp-application-form/.
If you do not have access to a computer, you can get this form at a DMV office and take care of business there, or mail it. To obtain a replacement placard, complete and sign a DMV form called “Replacement Request.” Plates, Decals, Documents (Reg 156).” DMV does not charge a fee to replace permanent placards, but for those looking to replace a temporary placard (due to temporary illness or disability) with another temporary placard, it will cost $6.
Make an appointment at a DMV office and get the form there to fill out, or get it online and bring the completed application to the DMV. Or mail it to: DMV Placard, PO Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-0001. You should receive your substitute parking placard about four weeks after submitting your application.
If all of this seems confusing, make an appointment at the DMV or drop by and ask a clerk for help.
Finally, on the subject of handicapped signs, remember that there is a new requirement to renew them. The DMV is sending notices to California drivers who have had their permanent disabled parking license plate for at least six years asking them to confirm that they still need the disabled license plate. If you do not respond, the DMV will not renew your placard. This renewal requirement is part of a new law that seeks to reduce placard abuse and fraud and ensure that only disabled drivers who truly need a placard get one.
Commuting to work in the Inland Empire? Do you spend a lot of time in your vehicle? Have questions about driving, highways, toll roads, or parking? If so, write or call On the Road and we’ll try to answer your questions. Include your question or problem, name, city of residence, phone number, and email address. Email [email protected] or call 951-368-9670.