Dear Mahatma: What will happen when Arkansas reaches license plate 999 ZZZ? -- NLR Jim
Dear Jim: This question has been asked several times over the past year by astute readers. It's even been asked by the Fabulous Babe. Because when she got a new Babemobile in January, the new license plate's three letters were ZVN. At our house, we knew the end was near.
In fact, we'd asked the question midyear. Scott Hardin of the Department of Finance and Administration estimated that 999 ZZZ would be issued in November.
Missed it by that much. Because Hardin now tells us that the final plate in the three-numbers, three letters series was to be issued either this week or next. It already could have been issued.
In a perfect world the possessor of 999 ZZZ would be so excited, and such a dedicated reader of this column, that he would instantly send a message to the email address at the bottom and include a cellphone photo of the plate.
Ditto for the possessor of the first new plate, which will be three letters, two numbers and one letter. Presumably, that would be AAA 00A.
How cool would that be?
This reminds us that back in the 20th century, the Babe got a new plate for her minivan. Or was that the station wagon? Either way, plates were three letters and three numbers. At our local revenue office, by stroke of luck, her first three letters on the new plate were her first name. (Insert exclamation point.) It was, more or less, a free personalized plate.
Being a hard-nosed investigative reporter, we also asked Hardin two more penetrating questions.
How many registered vehicles are there now? Total is 4.1 million active registrations.
How many folks have a driver's license? There are now slightly more than 2 million driver's licenses, with 400,000 of them the REAL ID licenses.
Oh, gosh. Something to add to the to-do list. The REAL ID is the enhanced security license, issued in cooperation with the federal government. By Oct. 1, a REAL ID license will be needed to board a domestic flight, or enter a federal building or military base. No REAL ID? Additional forms of identification will be required.
The REAL ID deadline was extended a year because of the pandemic. Please excuse the reference. We try hard to make this a germ-free zone.
Dear Mahatma: As a motorcyclist, I feel you should point out how dangerous it is for riders to blow grass clippings into the street. It causes the street to be slick as ice and has caused many accidents. -- Phil
Dear Phil: Yikes! Thank you for adding another reason not to mess up our streets with grass clippings. Or leaves. Safety for motorcyclists is as important as the keeping clogs out of storm drains. Sweep it up, people. Or don't let your yard guy blow junk into the street.