A few years ago, there was concern that the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles License Plate Agency in Manteo would eventually run out of “OBX” plates.
That potential problem has been eliminated, thanks to a new series of number and letter combinations, and the addition of a third license plate style that was released statewide on July 1.
You can only get a standard issue plate with OBX as the first three letters from the contractor that operates inside Island Pharmacy at Chesley Mall on U.S. 64.
They were first made available in 1999 after a request to the NCDMV by former state Sen. President Pro Tem Marc Basnight.
North Carolina residents from across the region and state frequently renew their plates in Manteo just to get those three letters with a special meaning.
Basnight’s predecessor in the Senate, Sen. Melvin Daniels, Jr., introduced a bill in 1980 that the First In Flight plate replace the generic looking tags that had just the state and year of validity.
Yep, no stickers. You had to get a new license plate in North Carolina every year up until then.
A second standard issue plate, “First In Freedom”, was added to the series earlier this decade with the signing dates of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775, and of the Halifax Resolves, April 12, 1776.
The same dates are on the North Carolina flag, and are considered the first official documents calling for the American colonies to break away from rule by Great Britain.
After the 3-letter, 5-number combination ran out, the NCDMV began offering OBX, 4 numbers and the letter A on First In Flight plates, and B at the end of First In Freedom plates.
A third standard issue plate became available across the state on Monday.
At the top is the United States motto, “In God We Trust”, and North Carolina’s English motto “To Be Rather Than To Seem” is at the bottom. It should be noted, the official state motto is the Latin, “Esse quam videri”
The national/state motto OBX plates have a C after the four numbers.
“We are excited to offer this new additional plate to customers as part of our continued effort to maintain the highest level of customer service,” said NCDMV Commissioner Torre J. Jessup. “This plate will allow our customers more options to choose from.”
To apply for a national/state motto license plate at no additional charge, vehicle owners can request the plate at the time of their registration renewal. A standard charge will be due if the vehicle owner applies for the plate at non-renewal times.
The new national/state motto standard plate will not replace the “In God We Trust” specialty plate, which will still be available with additional fees associated with the plate.
OBX can also still be used on personalized and specialty plates, but that also costs extra.
And with all the new letter and number combos, we shouldn’t have to worry about running out of OBX plates anytime soon.