Q. A friend spotted an ultra-rare Tournament of Roses license plate on the freeway early this year. Is this plate allowed to be used after the Tournament or Roses parade? The plate is not listed on the Department of Motor Vehicles website, so I was curious: What other special plates are there?
– Ray Villagracia, Lake Forest
A. That kind of special plate your friend saw, Ray, has a license-plate number that starts off with “T of R” and is followed by a smaller, two- or three-digit number to the right to differentiate the plates from one another.
The license-plate number is in blue letters over a white background. At the top of the license-plate holder it says “PASADENA,” and on the bottom, “TOURNAMENT OF ROSES.”
Each fall, Honda loans 130 or so new vehicles for use by volunteers in leadership roles and by some staffers; they are returned shortly after the parade and the bowl game.
“Each white Honda includes the iconic Tournament of Roses logo and custom California license plate for promotional purposes,” Candy Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, told Honk in an email.
“The ‘T of R’ license plates were approved by the DMV,” she said. The cars “comply with the California Vehicle Code requiring evidence of insurance. When the white cars start driving around Pasadena, it’s a sign that the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game are just months away!”
Only the Tournament of Roses group can get this particular style of plate, under an agreement with the DMV that’s been in place for about a dozen years, said Chris Orrock, a DMV spokesman.
The plates are to be taken off of the vehicles by the end of each January and kept for the following year. Annually, the Tournament of Roses must ask for permission to use them again. The California Highway Patrol is kept updated.
These are the only such plates deployed by any group.
“If another event wanted to have similar plates for their event, they would submit a formal request to DMV,” Orrock said.
HONKIN’ FACT No. 1: In 1913, there were 1.3 million registered vehicles, with 4,200 people getting killed on the roadways across the United States. In 2020, there were 276 million registered vehicles and 42,338 who lost their lives on the road; a lot of unnecessary deaths, yes, but a 95% decrease in the rate of fatalities per every 10,000 registered vehicles (Source: the nonprofit National Safety Council).
HONKIN’ FACT No. 2: At U.S. airport security checkpoints through this year’s first six months, officers with the Transportation Security Administration kept 3,000-plus firearms from getting into aircrafts’ passenger cabins, the agency says. If that pace continues, an all-time record will be set. Last year, officers blocked the boarding of 5,972 firearms, the most during TSA’s existence.
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