Monday, February 26, 2024

New Pine Tree Plate unveiled by BMV

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows and Deputy Secretary of State for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Cathie Curtis unveiled the design of the new Pine Tree Plate today.

“The new Pine Tree Plate is a fresh approach to a classic design rooted in Maine history, but the ultimate purpose of license plates is for vehicle identification to ensure public safety on our roads and highways” said Secretary Bellows. “Damaged or worn out plates on our roadways increase risks to the general public, and worn-out plates reduce law enforcement’s ability to be effective when handling crimes that could be prevented or solved through the identification of license plates.”

The current standard-issue plate, the Chickadee Plate, has been in circulation for almost 25 years.

“The Chickadee Plate will see over 900,000 replacements between May of 2025, and May 2026, a huge logistical undertaking coordinated by BMV staff, our municipal partners, and Waldale Manufacturing,” said Deputy Secretary Curtis. “Mainers who want to reserve their current plate numbers, including vanity plates and low-digit plates, should know that right now, they don’t need to act – but we’ll be starting a reservation process later this spring.”

In accordance with LD 1965, “An Act to Authorize the Secretary of State to Provide a New General Issue of License Plates,” which became law last year, there are two new plate designs: One with the Pine Tree and North Star and one plain plate with blue identification number and letter combinations. Here are samples of the designs: Pine Tree Plate (png) and plain (png).

Mary Catus, an employee in the Department of the Secretary of State, donated the design of the Pine Tree Plate to the State of Maine for use on the plate.

Waldale Manufacturing, a Nova Scotia company, has been contracted to manufacture the Pine Tree License Plates during this new general plate issuance.

Mainers who wish to replace peeling or otherwise deteriorating plates can, and should, do so, but too often scofflaws find that they can avoid doing so – and avoid paying registration fees or tolls. BMV’s current registrations tracking system doesn’t have a mechanism to see how long a registration plate has been in use. Issuing a new design ensures fairness to law abiding Maine drivers.

Mainers who have a specialty plate will not be impacted by the change to the Pine Tree Plate. Specialty plates include the Agriculture and Conservation plates, among others.

Chickadee Plates that returned to municipal offices and BMV branch offices will be retrieved by BMV staff and recycled.