The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 17, 2009

Ask Us: Whiskey plates

We explain the rules of the special plates

Q: The whiskey plates, a lot of us have been wondering: What does it take to get them? If someone in your household gets them do all the cars get them? How long do you have them?

A:Kristine Chapin, a public information officer with the state Department of Public Safety, quickly cleared up the confusion on “special registration” plates, more commonly known as whiskey plates because they begin with “W.”

A driver will be required to display these plates after one of the following:

• A second DWI in 10 years

• Multiple DWIs over any period of time

• A DWI with a blood-alcohol content over .20

• A DWI with a child under 16 in the vehicle

• Driving after revocation “inimical to public safety,” which Chapin said means the revocation was for something dangerous like DWI or extreme speeding

• Any time they’re ordered by the court to do so

All vehicles registered in the name of the violator at the time of the violation must display the special plates, according to Chapin. The law doesn’t allow a co-owner to change the registration on a vehicle after the fact to avoid the plates.

Finally, the plates must be displayed for a minimum of one year from the date of the most recent infraction or until the vehicle owner’s license is valid again, whichever is longer.

Q: You can hear a loud beeping noise at red lights, especially the new one at Adams Street and Victory Drive. I’m just curious as to what it is.

A: The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, mandates that new stoplights must beep to warn blind people, Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said. The countdown signals are another part of the ADA.

Contact Ask Us at The Free Press, P.O. Box 3287, Mankato, MN 56002. Call the newsroom at 344-6397 or e-mail your question to; put Ask Us in the subject line. This Ask Us was compiled by Free Press staff writer Dan Linehan.

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