After public meetings and consultations with the Missouri Highway Patrol, a new automobile license plate design was selected by an Advisory Committee in late January 2017. The design commemorates Missouri’s 200th anniversary of statehood on August 10, 2021. The color palette honors the Missouri state flag with the use of red, white, and blue.
According to Gary Kremer, the State Historical Society of Missouri’s executive director, the Advisory Committee also worked to find a design that represented the entire state. “The waves in the bands of color represent a river,” Kremer said. “Rivers are an important symbol for Missouri, as waterways figured prominently in the state’s historic role as a gateway for American exploration and transportation.”
Ruth Otto of the Motor Vehicle and Driver’s License Division at the Missouri Department of Revenue agreed. “This design option is universal to the state of Missouri and not specific to a certain region of the state,” she said.
The selected design also had the greatest readability when tested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, according to Lieutenant Brian L. Daniel. “We placed the sample plates on a vehicle and positioned a patrol car 50 feet behind the test vehicle to ensure officers could read the plate,” Daniel said. “This test was completed both during the day and night. The patrol car’s head lights, emergency lights, and spot light were also utilized to determine if the plate’s reflectivity compromised the readability of the plate.”
The bicentennial design will replace the current Missouri bluebird license plate. State law requires the Department of Revenue to begin a full reissuance of license plates with the new plate design in January 2019. “Plates will be issued on or before January 1, 2019,” Otto said. “If we have the plates produced and distributed to the license offices before January 1, 2019, we will begin issuing sooner than this date.”
House Bill 2380 established the Advisory Committee in 2016 to develop and approve a new motor vehicle license plate design commemorating the bicentennial of Missouri. The committee held public meetings last year in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Poplar Bluff to gather input on the design.
Committee members included the director of the Department of Revenue or his or her designee, the superintendent of the Highway Patrol, the correctional enterprises administrator, the director of the Department of Transportation, the executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and the respective chairpersons of both the Senate and House of Representatives Transportation Committees.