2005 California Vehicle Code Sections 5200-5206 Article 9. Display of Plates, Tabs, and StickersVEHICLE CODE
5200. (a) When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear. (b) When only one license plate is issued for use upon a vehicle, it shall be attached to the rear thereof, unless the license plate is issued for use upon a truck tractor, in which case the license plate shall be displayed in accordance with Section 4850.5. 5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground, except as follows: (a) The rear license plate on a tow truck may be mounted on the left-hand side of the mast assembly at the rear of the cab of the vehicle, not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground. (b) The rear license plate on a tank vehicle hauling hazardous waste, as defined in Section 25117 of the Health and Safety Code, or asphalt material may be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground. (c) The rear license plate on a truck tractor may be mounted at the rear of the cab of the vehicle, but not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground. (d) The rear license plate of a vehicle designed by the manufacturer for the collection and transportation of garbage, rubbish, or refuse that is used regularly for the collection and transportation of that material by any person or governmental entity employed to collect, transport, and dispose of garbage, rubbish, or refuse may be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 90 inches from the ground. (e) The rear license plate on a two-axle livestock trailer may be mounted 12 inches or more, but not more than 90 inches, from the ground. (f) No covering may be used on license plates except as follows: (1) The installation of a cover over a lawfully parked vehicle to protect it from the weather and the elements does not constitute a violation of this subdivision. Any peace officer or other regularly salaried employee of a public agency designated to enforce laws, including local ordinances, relating to the parking of vehicles may temporarily remove so much of the cover as is necessary to inspect any license plate, tab, or indicia of registration on a vehicle. (2) The installation of a license plate security cover is not a violation of this subdivision if the device does not obstruct or impair the recognition of the license plate information, including, but not limited to, the issuing state, license plate number, and registration tabs, and the cover is limited to the area directly over the top of the registration tabs. No portion of a license plate security cover shall rest over the license plate number. (g) No casing, shield, frame, border, or other device that obstructs or impairs the reading or recognition of a license plate by a remote emission sensing device, as specified in Sections 44081 and 44081.6 of the Health and Safety Code, shall be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle. (h) (1) It is the Legislature's intent that an accommodation be made to persons with disabilities and to those persons who regularly transport persons with disabilities, to allow the removal and relocation of wheelchair lifts and wheelchair carriers without the necessity of removing and reattaching the vehicle's rear license plate. Therefore, it is not a violation of this section if the reading or recognition of a rear license plate is obstructed or impaired by a wheelchair lift or wheelchair carrier and all of the following requirements are met: (A) The owner of the vehicle has been issued a special identification license plate pursuant to Section 5007, or the person using the wheelchair that is carried on the vehicle has been issued a distinguishing placard under Section 22511.55. (B) (i) The operator of the vehicle displays a decal, designed and issued by the department, that contains the license plate number assigned to the vehicle transporting the wheelchair. (ii) The decal is displayed on the rear window of the vehicle, in a location determined by the department, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, so as to be clearly visible to law enforcement. (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a decal is displayed pursuant to this subdivision, the requirements of this code that require the illumination of the license plate and the license plate number do not apply. (3) The department shall adopt regulations governing the procedures for accepting and approving applications for decals, and issuing decals, authorized by this subdivision. (4) This subdivision does not apply to a front license plate. 5202. Every license plate issued by this State or any other jurisdiction within or without the United States shall remain attached during the period of its validity to the vehicle for which it is issued while being operated within this State or during the time the vehicle is being held for sale in this State, or until such time as a vehicle with special or identification plates is no longer entitled to such plates and no person shall operate, nor shall an owner knowingly permit to be operated, upon any highway any vehicle unless the license plate is so attached. Special permits issued in lieu of plates shall be attached and displayed on the vehicle for which issued during the period of their validity. 5203. This chapter does not apply to plates which the department pursuant to law has ordered to be surrendered, transferred to another vehicle, or removed. 5204. (a) Except as provided by subdivisions (b) and (c), a tab shall indicate the year of expiration and a tab shall indicate the month of expiration. Current month and year tabs shall be attached to the rear license plate assigned to the vehicle for the last preceding registration year in which license plates were issued, and, when so attached, the license plate with the tabs shall, for the purposes of this code, be deemed to be the license plate, except that truck tractors, and commercial motor vehicles having a declared gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more, shall display the current month and year tabs upon the front license plate assigned to the truck tractor or commercial motor vehicle. Vehicles that fail to display current month and year tabs or display expired tabs are in violation of this section. (b) The requirement of subdivision (a) that the tabs indicate the year and the month of expiration does not apply to fleet vehicles subject to Article 9.5 (commencing with Section 5300) or vehicles defined in Section 468. (c) Subdivision (a) does not apply when proper application for registration has been made pursuant to Section 4602 and the new indicia of current registration have not been received from the department. (d) This section is enforceable against any motor vehicle that is driven, moved, or left standing upon a highway, or in an offstreet public parking facility, in the same manner as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 4000. 5205. The department may make appropriate rules and regulations for the use and display of stickers or devices issued in lieu of license plates, and shall publish a summary thereof. 5205.5. (a) For the purposes of implementing Section 21655.9, the department shall make available for issuance, for a fee determined by the department to be sufficient to reimburse the department for the actual costs incurred pursuant to this section, distinctive decals, labels, and other identifiers that clearly distinguish the following vehicles from other vehicles: (1) A vehicle that meets California's super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV) standard for exhaust emissions and the federal inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) evaporative emission standard, as defined in Part 88 (commencing with Section 88.101-94) of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (2) A vehicle that was produced during the 2004 model year or earlier and meets California ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standard for exhaust emissions and the federal ILEV standard. (3) A hybrid vehicle or an alternative fuel vehicle that meets California's advanced technology partial zero-emission vehicle (AT PZEV) standard for criteria pollutant emissions and has a 45 miles per gallon or greater fuel economy highway rating. (4) A hybrid vehicle that was produced during the 2004 model year or earlier and has a 45 miles per gallon or greater fuel economy highway rating, and meets California's ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV), super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV), or partial zero-emission vehicle (PZEV) standards. (b) Neither an owner of a hybrid vehicle that meets the AT PZEV standard, with the exception of a vehicle that meets the federal ILEV standard, nor an owner of a hybrid vehicle described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), is entitled to a decal, label, or other identifier pursuant to this section unless, and until, the federal government acts to approve the use of high-occupancy vehicle lanes by vehicles of the types identified in paragraph (3) or (4) of subdivision (a), regardless of the number of occupants. (c) The department shall include a summary of the provisions of this section on each motor vehicle registration renewal notice, or on a separate insert, if space is available and the summary can be included without incurring additional printing or postage costs. (d) The Department of Transportation shall remove individual high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, or portions of those lanes, during periods of peak congestion from the access provisions provided in subdivision (a), following a finding by the Department of Transportation as follows: (1) The lane, or portion thereof, exceeds a level of service C, as discussed in subdivision (b) of Section 65089 of the Government Code. (2) The operation or projected operation of the vehicles described in subdivision (a) in these lanes, or portions thereof, will significantly increase congestion. The finding also shall demonstrate the infeasibility of alleviating the congestion by other means, including, but not limited to, reducing the use of the lane by noneligible vehicles, or further increasing vehicle occupancy. (e) The State Air Resources Board shall publish and maintain a listing of all vehicles eligible for participation in the programs described in this section. The board shall provide that listing to the department. (f) For purposes of subdivision (a), the Department of the California Highway Patrol and the department, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, shall design and specify the placement of the decal, label, or other identifier on the vehicle. Each decal, label, or other identifier issued for a vehicle shall display a unique number, which number shall be printed on, or affixed to, the vehicle registration. (g) (1) For purposes of subdivision (a), the department shall issue no more than 75,000 distinctive decals, labels, or other identifiers that clearly distinguish the vehicles specified in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a). (2) The department shall notify the Department of Transportation immediately after the date on which the department has issued 50,000 decals, labels, and other identifiers under this section for the vehicles described in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a). (3) The Department of Transportation shall determine whether significant high-occupancy vehicle lane breakdown has occurred throughout the state, in accordance with the following timeline: (A) For lanes that are nearing capacity, the Department of Transportation shall make the determination not later than 90 days after the date provided by the department under paragraph (2). (B) For lanes that are not nearing capacity, the Department of Transportation shall make the determination not later than 180 days after the date provided by the department under paragraph (2). (4) In making the determination that significant high-occupancy vehicle lane breakdown has occurred, the Department of Transportation shall consider the following factors in the HOV lane: (A) Reduction in level of service. (B) Sustained stop-and-go conditions. (C) Slower than average speed than the adjacent mixed flow lanes. (D) Consistent increase in travel time. (5) After making the determinations pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (3), if the Department of Transportation determines that significant high-occupancy vehicle lane breakdown has occurred throughout the state, the Department of Transportation shall immediately notify the department of that determination, and the department, on the date of receiving that notification, shall discontinue issuing the decals, labels, or other identifiers for the vehicles described in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a). (h) If the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, serving as the Bay Area Toll Authority, grants toll-free and reduced-rate passage on toll bridges under its jurisdiction to any vehicle pursuant to Section 30102.5 of the Streets and Highways Code, it shall also grant the same toll-free and reduced-rate passage to a vehicle displaying an identifier issued by the department pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a) and to a vehicle displaying a valid identifier issued by the department pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) of subdivision (a) if either of the following apply: (1) The vehicle is registered to an address outside of the region identified in Section 66502 of the Government Code. (2) If the vehicle is registered to an address inside the region, the owner of the vehicle complies with subdivision (i) unless subdivision (j) is applicable. (i) An owner of a vehicle specified in paragraph (3) or (4) of subdivision (a) whose vehicle is registered to an address in the region identified in Section 66502 of the Government Code and who seeks a vehicle identifier under subdivision (a) shall obtain an account to operate within the automatic vehicle identification system described in Section 27565 of the Streets and Highways Code and shall submit to the department a form, approved by the department and issued by the Bay Area Toll Authority, that contains the vehicle owner's name, the license plate number and vehicle identification number of the vehicle, the vehicle make and year model, and the automatic vehicle identification system account number, as a condition to obtaining a vehicle identifier pursuant to subdivision (a) that allows for the use of that vehicle in high-occupancy vehicle lanes regardless of the number of occupants. (j) If the automatic vehicle identification system readers on all high-occupancy vehicle lanes on all of the toll bridges identified in subdivision (a) of Section 30910 of the Streets and Highways Code are not fully operational and fully funded with bridge tolls controlled by the Bay Area Toll Authority within 90 days of the federal government approval described in subdivision (b), then subdivision (i) shall not be applicable and both of the following shall apply: (1) The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, acting as the Bay Area Toll Authority, shall grant toll-free and reduced-rate passage to all vehicles displaying an identifier issued by the department pursuant to subdivision (a). (2) The department shall not require documentation that the owner of a vehicle registered to an address in the region identified in Section 66502 of the Government Code has obtained an automatic vehicle identification system account as a condition to the issuance of an identifier under subdivision (a). (k) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2008, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2008, deletes or extends that date. 5206. Vehicles for which weight fees are paid on a partial year basis shall display a certificate or insignia issued by the department, which shall state the end of the period for which the vehicle is licensed.
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