Question: What is up with the use of dealer plates? Seems like I see a lot of them and I thought there were laws regarding their use. Aren’t there any restrictions in their use at all or what? Also, what about the IT plates I see on dealer vehicles? Are they different? How can I report these violations?
Answer: First, I will talk about the use of regular dealer plates. M.S.S. 168.27 Subdivision 16 talks about the use of regular (not in-transit) motor vehicle dealer plates. It says: “Motor vehicles, new or used, owned by the motor vehicle dealership and bearing the number plate, (except vehicles leased to the user who is not an employee of the dealer during the term of the lease, held for hire, or customarily used by the dealer as a tow truck, service truck, or parts vehicle), may be driven upon the streets and highways of this state: by the motor vehicle dealer or dealer’s spouse, or any full-time employee of the motor vehicle dealer for either private or business purposes; by a part-time employee when the use is directly related to a particular business transaction of the dealer; for demonstration purposes by any prospective buyer for a period of 48 hours or in the case of a truck, truck-tractor, or semitrailer, for a period of seven days; or in a promotional event that lasts no longer than four days in which at least three motor vehicles are involved.”
That same law also says: “A new or used motor vehicle sold by the motor vehicle dealer and bearing the motor vehicle dealer’s number plate may be driven upon the public streets and highways for a period of72 hours by the buyer for either of the following purposes: removing the vehicle from this state for registration in another state, or permitting the buyer to use the motor vehicle before the buyer receives number plates pursuant to registration. Use of a motor vehicle by the buyer...before the buyer receives number plates pursuant to registration constitutes a use of the public streets or highways for the purpose of the time requirements for registration of motor vehicles.”
The “IT” dealer plates are “In-Transit” plates. Subdivision 17 of the same statute talks about In-transit plates. The use of dealer in-transit license plates is very restricted. The law says they are “for use upon all new or used motor vehicles being transported from the dealer’s source of supply, or other place of storage, to the dealer’s place of business, or to another place of storage, or from one dealer to another.” When we see this violated, we take the plates, charge the dealer and report it to the Dealer Unit. Dealers then have to pay for new plates if they want them again. You can report these violations by calling the State Patrol Investigative Services Section at 763-279-4000.
I hope this answers your questions and changes the current policies or every day operations of some auto dealers. Thanks for asking. Minnesota state statutes are copyrighted by the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota and are used with permission.
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, MN State Patrol, P.O. Box 644, Brainerd, MN, 56401, or email questions to email@example.com with Ask a Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.