Q: Kevin Lavelle, of Rancho Cucamonga, who has been following the progression of California license plates for decades, observed that California is nearing the end of being able to use its current seven-character letter/number combination format on standard plates.
He said: “9ZZZ999 is coming. What will be the next sequence? Will it be A001AAA?”
A: First, a quick explanation: Since 1980, California’s standard license plates have used what’s called a “Numeral Alpha Alpha Alpha Numeral Numeral Numeral,” or 1AAA000, pattern that works sequentially (1AAA000 to 1AAA001, and so forth. So, it’s one number, then three letters, then three numbers). The first number is not tied to the car’s model year, as some people may believe.
“California is now in the 9EWZ000-9EWZ999 series and the current sequence will end at 9ZZZ999, which is projected to be sometime in 2027,” DMV spokesperson Ronald Ongtoaboc said.
It remains to be seen how the DMV will handle the change once the current configuration ends, but the agency has plenty of time to figure it out.
“The DMV is still considering its options related to the next sequential license plate configuration,” Ongtoaboc said.
Q: We’ve had a few readers ask how to get a disabled parking placard if they have lost or misplaced theirs and can’t find it.
A: The Department of Motor Vehicles issues these to qualified drivers.
If the original placard is lost, stolen or misplaced, the fastest way is to fill out and submit a form on the DMV’s website. Here is the link: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv-virtual-office/dpp-application/dpp-application-form/.
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can get this form from a DMV office and take care of business there, or mail it in. To get a substitute placard, complete and sign a DMV form called the “Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (Reg 156).” The DMV does not charge a fee to replace permanent placards but, for those seeking to replace a temporary placard (for temporary disabilities or illnesses) with another temporary placard, it will cost $6.
Make an appointment at a DMV office and get the form there to fill out or get it online and bring the completed application to the DMV. Or mail it to: DMV Placard, PO Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-0001. You should receive the substitute parking placard about four weeks after the application is submitted.
If this entire thing seems confusing, make an appointment at the DMV or drop in and ask a clerk for assistance.
Finally, on the subject of disabled placards, remember that there’s a new requirement to renew them. The DMV is sending notices to California drivers who have had their permanent disabled parking placard for at least six years and is asking these drivers to confirm that they still need the disabled placard. If you don’t respond, the DMV won’t renew your placard. This renewal requirement is part of a new law seeking to reduce abuse and fraud with the placards and to ensure that only those disabled drivers who really need a placard are getting one.
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