Whiskey tags and purple bloom

Prairie phlox and purple loosestrife, field thistle and bittersweet nightshade…

When I was a child bedeviled by freckles, I was told that they were kisses from the sun. I took that with all of the natural disgust that would come to anyone so patronized.

Now, all grown up and with most of my sun love-tokens faded, I am charmed by the description and can’t help but think of it when I see the fields here in Minnesota sporting flowers like freckles — multitudinous and undisguisable — kisses from the sun.

My early morning commute includes rolling fields of purple flowers climbing up and down the hills that run alongside me like faithful hounds and the rush hour cars look like herds of mechanical animals in migration.

On this morning’s drive, my daughter crows with triumph at having spotted (in her usual morning license plate game) a big point winner — a “whiskey plate”.

She tells me that whiskey plates, she heard from her dad, are issued by the state to identify DUI/DWI drivers to make surveillance of them easier and that police are empowered to pull them over at any time.

A process by which the state issues a specially coded license plate to DUI/DWI drivers to make surveillance of them easier for law enforcement officers? Does that sound like an urban legend to you? It did to me.

Looking it up online with the intent to show her that whiskey plates are nothing more than an urban legend proved to be educational — for me.


Image courtesy of Examiner.com

Whiskey plates are real and have been around for a while. They have inspired discussion boards and debate, both online and in the real, legislative world. What do you think? Are they an invasion of privacy? A violation of rights? An ineffective slap on the wrist to  repeat offenders who should not be driving at all? A cost-effective way to monitor repeat offenders while allowing them the privilege of driving?

Links of interest

Minnesota Wild Flowers: Purple
What do whiskey plates in Minnesota look like?
Minnesota Lawyers: Whiskey Plates in Minnesota
Interesting discussion about Minnesota plates
Whiskey Plates, Public Humiliation?
Smiley face plate retired

Weird plates and license plate art:

Florida Jesus plate: Source

Kentucky “Teletubbies-look” plate: Source

License plate handbag

Superman license plate art

License plate map

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