2005 California Vehicle Code Sections 5200-5206 Article 9. Display of Plates, Tabs, and Stickers

VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 5200-5206

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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