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You can’t get 7 characters on all California license plate styles

 Q. I went from personalized spay/neuter plates to the spay/neuter plates where the Department of Motor Vehicles picks out the license plate number. My new plate only has six digits, and new plates have had seven digits for years. How is this possible?

—  Tom Rapport, Orange

A. Bond, James Bond.

Well, sort of.

You know that nice artwork off to the left side of the plate, of a shades-wearing cat sitting atop a dog’s head? Needs room.

That is a contribution from actor Pierce Brosnan, who, of course, once portrayed 007 on the big screen. About a decade ago, he donated his drawing of his dog, Shilo, and his cat, Angel Baby, to the cause.

“There are other special-interest plates that only allow two to six characters due to each plate’s unique design,” said Ronald Ongtoaboc, a Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman.

(Tom’s personalized Pet Lovers plate had six characters as well.)

There are at least nine plate styles that cap the number of characters at six instead of the more-traditional seven, including the California Museums plate with a dancing Snoopy and the Breast Cancer Awareness plate with a pink ribbon.

A part of the tab for special-interest plates goes to the cause. The Pet Lovers plates raise money and awareness to reduce the overpopulation of animals, such as with spay and neutering programs.

As of July 1, there were Pet Lovers plates issued to 7,062 California vehicles, Ongtoaboc said. Earlier this year, $477,780 raised by the plates was awarded to 18 projects.

Q. I am happy to see the I-405 Freeway getting widened, with new bridges and better lanes. Will the freeway be resurfaced to get rid of the marks left by the grinding to remove the stripes that had guided us around sections under construction? At certain times of day, the grounded-down areas make it hard to discern the valid stripe. Not to mention, it causes the tires to make an almost musical tone.

— Brett Bailey, Newport Beach

A. Sounds like you are talking about the concrete stretches and not the asphalt ones.

Either way…

Megan Abba, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, which is overseeing construction of the massive project, told Honk in an email that workers are “regularly restriping portions of the freeway to make sure the lane markings are visible to drivers.”

If motorists spot specific areas of concern, she said, they can tell the agency at 405project@octa.net or at 888-400-8994.

The project, which stretches from Costa Mesa to the Los Angeles County line, is scheduled for completion next year.

At some point after that, Caltrans intends to come in and further refurbish much of the pavement for the project’s length, spokesman Nathan Abler said.

HONKIN’ FACTS: Ever seen a particular special-interest license plate on the road and wonder how many exist out there today? By far, the Legacy plate is the fave — the yellow-lettering-on-black-background ones that look like the standard plates of the 1960s. When asked, the DMV gave Honk the number of vehicles issued the various special-interest plates. As of July 1:

  • Arts: 45,164Firefighter: 18,040Kids: 95,648Lake Tahoe: 25,902UCLA: 1,399Veterans: 29,777Coastal: 72,207Yosemite: 36,034Memorial: 16,087CalAG: 6,754Legacy: 1,027,401Museums: 11,416Breast Cancer Awareness: 5,588

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk


Source: Orange County Register

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