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What's Driving You Crazy?: Are clear license plate covers legal in Colorado?

Plate Cover.jpg
Posted at 5:27 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 08:12:36-05

Lisa from Englewood writes, “Thanks for all the questions you answer every week. I saw one of these protective license plate covers in an auto parts store but I’ve been told they are not legal to put on your car. Is this plate cover legal?”

As long as the cover is clear and doesn’t obstruct the view of the license plate and registration tabs for police, than yes, it is legal. From the picture you sent me, it looks like that cover is legal. However, that cover would have to be flipped over as we put the tabs on the bottom and not the top.

The Colorado State Revised Code, CRS 42-3-202 (2)(b) says, “A person shall not operate a motor vehicle with an affixed device or a substance that causes all or a portion of a license plate to be unreadable by a system used to automatically identify a motor vehicle. Such a device includes, without limitation, a cover that distorts angular visibility; alters the color of the plate; or is smoked, tinted, scratched, or dirty so as to impair the legibility of the license plate.”

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The Colorado State Patrol tells me in their view any license plate cover has to be completely clear and see-through and not obstruct the lettering/numbering on the plate or obstruct the clear view of the validation tabs.

So, as long as the plate cover is clean and not excessively scratched to the point the plate/tabs can't be seen, it should be considered acceptable. That goes for both front and rear plates. The fine for violation is about $135 and three points.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.