A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

New digitally-printed flat surface aluminum license plates make debut on Kentucky vehicles

A new kind of Kentucky license plate has begun appearing on motor vehicles in the Commonwealth.

The most significant difference is in their manufacture – digitally printed on flat aluminum instead of traditional, embossed metal with raised letters and numbers.

The larger, unseen difference will be in savings to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) on storage space, bulk manufacturing and unused inventory. With digital technology, standard and specialty license plates can be produced as needed rather than having to be mass-produced.

“This digital technology will make license production and issuance more efficient for KYTC, county clerks and, ultimately, vehicle owners,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said.

Kentucky Correctional Industries (KCI) will continue to manufacture the plates at the Kentucky State Reformatory. But with digital technology, KCI will be able to print the requested number and ship them directly to county clerk offices. Under the current process, the state must account, store, and handle over 300 license plate types at over 145 locations and two warehouses.

KYTC had planned to begin introducing digital plates in late 2020. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reformatory and its plate production had to be shut down temporarily, so digital plates are being introduced ahead of schedule.

The vendor of the new production equipment, Intellectual Technologies Inc., is temporarily taking over production from KCI and is printing the new Kentucky plates at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant.

“We commend Intellectual Technologies for stepping up to help us ensure our counties an uninterrupted supply of license plates,” Gray said.

Newer plates will gradually replace older license plates. There is no change in procedure for vehicle owners, who will continue to purchase plates and register vehicles with their county clerks. Fees for the plates will remain the same, as will the lineup of available special plates.

Kentucky Department of Transportation

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  1. T H Woodside says:

    Is .. ‘IN GOD WE TRUST” .. on the new license plate?
    If not, WHY?

  2. Lora Ramsey says:

    So is there a choice? I like the “In God We Trust” on my license plate!!

  3. RD says:

    Can someone please let me know if there is an option on the new license plate to put IN GOD WE TRUST! So far i have not seen it?

  4. Richard Pickman says:

    All wording in the same font only in different sizes. Pathetic. This is the best we could come up on a flat license plate? Aside from bringing back the Unbridled Spirit logo, or at least having the other text in a different font from that of the state name, Kentucky needs to go with a cave theme. That would be cool, that would advertise a state specialty for Kentucky, which has an extensive karst region running through it.

  5. lucidleo says:

    Why in the world are Kentucky license plates being manufactured in Indiana???

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