Martin Bill Clarifies License Plate Obstruction Violations After Court Ruling

HARRISBURG – Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) will soon introduce a bill clarifying license plate obstruction violations after a court ruling appeared to criminalize thousands of drivers overnight.

“Look around any parking lot and you will see many vehicles with custom frames surrounding their license plates, often issued by their car dealers or of their favorite sports team,” Martin said. “This decision would now mean that any one of those drivers could be pulled over with probable cause. I do not believe this was the intent of lawmakers, and how can we reasonably expect law enforcement to consistently apply this ruling in their daily activities?”

Martin’s comments reference a recent Superior Court decision in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Derrick Ruffin, in which a panel of three judges ruled that a Philadelphia police officer’s decision to pull over a vehicle because a custom license plate frame blocked the state’s tourism website from view was justified.

As a result, Martin circulated a co-sponsorship memo for legislation that would stipulate plate obstructions only apply to important identifiable information.

“It is the responsibility of the court to call balls and strikes and interpret the meaning of the law,” Martin said. “Their ruling is not a reflection of preferred outcomes, but rather a call to the legislature to now perform its responsibility and better clarify language in the statute. My bill will do just that.”

CONTACT: Terry Trego

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