Fairly high up on my list of 300 pet peeves is mis-use of dealer license plates. This afternoon I spotted a good case of mis-use in Crystal Lake. As I rolled to a stop alongside a Chevrolet HHR, I noticed the dealer plate from Gary Lang Automotive.
But what really got my eye was the signing on the vehicle for Richmond Township Senior Transportation. Signs on the left side and the rear of the vehicle indicated that the Richmond Township has the transportation service, and I'm certain it is a good and valuable service for Township residents.
The problem is the illegal use of a dealer plate on a vehicle that is used to transport passengers. The license plate violation was confirmed by both the Secretary of State/Motor Vehicle Division office in Springfield and the Secretary of State Police office in Rockford.
Gary Lang could loan the vehicle to the Township as a demo for 24-48 hours; you know, "Would you like to buy this vehicle?"
Dealer plates are, in my opinion, too often abused. They should be on dealer-owned vehicles that are driven for demonstration purposes. A dealer's wife or girlfriend shouldn't be driving a dealer's car around on dealer plates. Salesmen shouldn't be driving cars around with dealer plates, unless the car is clearly for sale and evidenced by magnetic signs with the name of the dealership and its location and phone number thereon. The dealer's children shouldn't be driving cars at school with dealer plates, unless they are hustling their friends and their parents to buy the car or visit the dealership.
We all pay the price of higher-cost license plates, when dealers are allowed to slide under the wire on the cost of license plates on vehicles that are not used directly in the dealer's business to promote sales.
I called the Township and alerted them to the license plate problem. It would certainly be a unfortunate situation, if the woman driving the vehicle got stopped by an alert State Police officer and ticketed for operating a vehicle with an illegal plate.
The whole insurance question is another issue. Is the Township counting on Gary Lang Automotive's liability insurance policy to cover the vehicle? Is Gary Lang Automotive counting on the Township to provide liability insurance? Are the proper Certificates of Insurance in effect to make the insurance coverage certain?