Yellow License Plates In Florida: What You Need To Know

License plates come in a variety of colors, and in Florida, yellow plates have a special meaning. If you’ve noticed yellow license plates on the roads in Florida and wondered why they look different, read on.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: In Florida, yellow license plates indicate that the vehicle is part of a government fleet i.e. yellow plates are found on governmental, department-issued vehicles.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about yellow license plates in Florida.

Who Gets a Yellow License Plate in Florida

Florida’s roadways are a vibrant mix of vehicles, and among them, you might spot a car with a bright yellow license plate. Unlike the standard white plate with the orange blossom design, these yellow plates designate a specific category: government vehicles.

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Who Gets the Yellow Treatment?

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) issues “Florida Specialty Governmental” plates. These yellow plates aren’t issued to a single department, but rather to various government agencies throughout the state.

Here are some examples:

  • Local Governments: County governments, municipalities, and other local entities may utilize yellow plates for their official vehicles.
  • State Agencies: Departments like Transportation, Environmental Protection, Division of Motor Vehicles, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, National Guard, or Sheriff can have vehicles with yellow plates.
  • Public Institutions: State universities and colleges might also have yellow plates for their vehicles used for official purposes.

Why Stand Out from the Crowd?

The use of a distinct color for government vehicles serves several purposes:

  • Identification: The bright yellow color offers a clear visual cue to other drivers on the road. Recognizing a yellow plate allows for increased awareness that the vehicle is likely operated by someone on official government business.
  • Safety: For law enforcement, these plates can be a helpful identifier during traffic stops or situations where they need to distinguish government vehicles.
  • Uniformity: The yellow plates offer a standardized system for identifying government vehicles across different agencies within the state.

While the specific reasons behind the selection of yellow might not be publicly documented, the color’s visibility likely plays a key role.

Not All Sunshine is Yellow

It’s important to note that not all government vehicles in Florida use these yellow plates. Certain federal agencies, for instance, might have their own unique license plate system that doesn’t conform to the state’s yellow designation.

However, for the most part, encountering a yellow plate in Florida signifies you’re sharing the road with an official government vehicle.

Restrictions on Drivers with Yellow Plates

There are some restrictions for government vehicles in Florida, although they generally follow the same traffic laws as regular vehicles. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Traffic Laws: Government vehicles are expected to obey all traffic laws just like any other car on the road. Speeding, running red lights, or failing to yield all carry the same consequences for government drivers.
  • Parking: While some government vehicles might have designated parking spots near government buildings, they can’t park illegally in public spaces. Special permits might exist for specific situations, but generally, parking rules apply equally.
  • Use Restrictions: These vehicles are primarily for official government business. There might be limitations on personal use or using the vehicle for non-government purposes.
  • Emergency Operations: There are exceptions for emergency situations. Police cars, ambulances, and firetrucks with flashing lights and sirens can exceed speed limits or temporarily block traffic when responding to emergencies.

It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines. Specific restrictions or regulations might vary depending on the agency the vehicle belongs to. Additionally, some government agencies might have their own internal policies regarding vehicle use.

Other Unique License Plates in Florida

Aside from the standard license plates, Florida offers a variety of unique license plates that allow drivers to express their individuality or support a cause they care about. These specialty plates are a popular choice among Floridians and add a touch of personalization to their vehicles.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these options:

Specialty Plates

Florida offers a wide range of specialty license plates that represent various organizations, causes, and interests. From supporting wildlife conservation to honoring military veterans, there’s a specialty plate for almost every passion.

Some popular options include the “Protect Our Reefs” plate, the “Support Education” plate, and the “Salute Our Veterans” plate. These plates not only add a unique flair to your vehicle but also contribute to important causes in the state.

Personalized Plates

If you want to go a step further and truly make your license plate one-of-a-kind, Florida also offers personalized plates. Personalized plates allow you to choose a combination of letters and numbers that have personal significance to you, as long as they adhere to certain guidelines set by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Whether you want to showcase your name, a special date, or a clever phrase, personalized plates offer a fun and creative way to make your vehicle stand out on the road.

Plate Costs & Requirements

It’s important to note that specialty and personalized plates often come with additional costs and requirements. While the exact fees may vary depending on the type of plate you choose, these unique plates typically have an initial issuance fee in addition to the standard registration fees.

Additionally, some specialty plates may require proof of eligibility or membership in the organization they represent.

If you’re interested in obtaining a specialty or personalized plate, it’s recommended to visit the official website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for detailed information on the costs, requirements, and application process.

Remember, having a unique license plate not only adds a personal touch to your vehicle but also supports important causes and organizations in Florida. So, why not stand out from the crowd and show off your individuality with a specialty or personalized plate?


Florida’s yellow license plates are reserved for government vehicles only. You can see them on vehicles of different local or state government departments, colleges, or universities.

Understanding the meaning behind yellow plates and Florida’s license plate system provides useful knowledge for all drivers sharing the road.

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