A Moncton resident has started an online petition lobbying the provincial government to no longer require drivers to have a New Brunswick licence plate displayed on the front of their vehicle.

Terry Cormier said he was surprised when a police officer approached him in a parking lot recently to tell him the decorative British licence plate on the front of his Land Rover was illegal.

Cormier had just returned home to Moncton after spending two years in England to study nursing at the University of New Brunswick.

"I don't really see the point of the law," he said. "Basically it's going to save the police officers' time as well. They're not going to be wasting their time pulling people over with no licence plate or a vanity one."

Cormier said the police officer didn't tell him why it was illegal for him not to have a provincial licence plate on the front of his car.

As of yesterday afternoon the petition had 50 signatures and Cormier hopes to ask his local MLA Liberal Joan MacAlpine-Stiles to present the petition in the legislature once he collects more names.

Cormier said the petition has garnered the support of his friends.

Those who have signed the petition question the wisdom of the law, saying it costs more money and is unnecessary.

"Hopefully I can change the law. It would be great," Cormier said.

New Brunswick has required drivers to sport a plate on the front of their vehicle for decades.

Ontario, British Columbia and Winnipeg also require two licence plates per vehicle.

Public Safety Minister John Foran said more than half of North American jurisdictions require the two plates and he doesn't expect the trend to reverse.

Foran said he doesn't expect the province to return to a single-plate system. However he said he'll consider certain requests, such as those for antique or racing cars.

"There may be limited circumstances where a single plate could be used and I'm currently examining those requests," he said. "But we also have to remember that motor vehicle licence plates are first, and foremost, a means for law enforcement."

A former superintendent of the Miramichi Police Force, Foran said the front plate proved to be a valuable tool for police officers whether they were searching for a particular car or trying to stop a speeding vehicle.

"If you were meeting a speeding car moving towards you, you'd be able to get the plate or partial plate," he said.

* The petition is online at http://www.gopetition.com/online/14388.html.

Source: By Mary Moszynski
Times & Transcript Staff