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Section 22

Special Plates


22.2 Permitted Uses

  1. The dealer may use the plates for business and pleasure. [V.C. §11715(a)] Vehicle Code section §11715(a) does not limit the dealer to only business use of the special plates. To see Vehicle Code section 11715(a) go to: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d05/vc11715.htm .
  2. The following individuals are considered “the dealer” for special plate use purposes:
    1. The sole owner of the dealership
    2. A general partner of the dealership
    3. The manager of a limited liability company who is actively engaged in the management and control of the business operations.
    4. A corporate officer or director of a dealer if they are actively engaged in the management and control of the business operations.
      1. Note: A dealer must notify the DMV within 10 days of any change in the ownership or corporate structure of the licensee.
      2. Note: A general manager, business manager, or sales manager actively engaged in the management and control of the business operations may use the special plate if there is no other individual who meets the first four categories above.
    5. A licensed representative of a manufacturer or distributor.
  3. Test Drives:
    Any licensed driver may operate a vehicle with a special plate so long as one of the individuals described in the preceding six categories above is also in the vehicle.
  4. Spouse and family members:
    An unaccompanied licensed driver who regularly resides in the immediate household of the dealer may operate a vehicle with special plates solely to pick up or drop off the dealer.
  5. Employees:
    A licensed driver who is an employee of a dealer may drive a vehicle with special plates so long as they are acting within the course and scope of their employment.
  6. Salesperson demos:
    Vehicles rented or leased to vehicle salesmen in the course of their employment for purposes of display or demonstration may be run on dealer plates. The lease or rental agreement must be in the vehicle at all times. [V.C. §11715(d), and section 18.030 of the DMV Dealer Handbook] and section 18.030 of the DMV Handbook of Registration Procedures. To see Section 18.030, click here: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/reg_hdbk_pdf/ch18.pdf
  7. Special Events:
    Any licensed driver may operate a vehicle with special plates for special event purposes if the operator carries a letter of authorization from the licensee identifying the vehicle, duration, and location of operation, and person(s) authorized to operate the vehicle.
  8. Prospective buyer or lessee – 7 days:
    Any licensed driver who is a prospective buyer or lessee, may test drive a vehicle with special plates for up to seven days. If a salesperson is not present, then the operator must carry a letter of authorization from the dealer.
  9. Commercial drive test for employees:
    Employees of a commercial vehicle dealer, who must operate a commercial vehicle in the course of their employment, may take a commercial drive test in a commercial vehicle displaying special plates. [V.C. §201.00(g)]
  10. Trailers:
    Trailers displaying special plates may be towed by a vehicle with Vehicle Code authority to operate on the highways. [V.C. §201.00(h)]
  11. Towing:
    1. Towing or transporting other vehicles is permissible with a dealer plate. [V.C. §11715(a)]
    2. Exception: Dealer plates cannot be used to transport more than one load of other vehicles for the purpose of sale. [V.C. §11715(d)]


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