By Brad Benfield
Passenger vehicle owners in Whitman, Whatcom, Asotin, Benton, Franklin, and Kitsap Counties will be the first to receive the new seven-character passenger vehicle license plates officially announced last October. These plates are issued for use on cars and sport-utility vehicles.
The new plates will have three letters followed by four numbers (AAA1111). This new configuration will yield about 138 million possible combinations. The general appearance of these new license plates won’t change—the colors will be the same and they will still feature the standard mountain background currently in use.
The first plates manufactured, with numbers AAA0000 through AAA0599, were shipped to Whitman County and will soon be distributed to local vehicle licensing offices. These offices will begin issuing them after they run out of the current six-character license plates they have in their inventories. This process will be used in all counties.
Like Washington’s other license plates, this new series is produced by prison inmates through the Correctional Industries program at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. They are shipped directly from the production facility to counties across our state.