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Rick Franklin
05-28-2011, 05:12 PM
Some time back, I followed up on a lead that Patrick Martin posted and acquired a set of 1986 Illinois Funeral Home license plates to display on my coach since it originally saw service in Illinois. My question is : WHY did Illinois issue a special plate for Funeral vehicles? I get asked this at shows & I dont know how to respond! Thanks in advance!

Nicholas Yassan
05-28-2011, 05:36 PM
To make sure you had the correct Livery insurance from transportation. You were also "taxed" differently.

Patrick J. Martin
05-28-2011, 08:14 PM
Rick, Illinois has such a large population with a corresponding large number of registered vehicles in the state, that it was a simple case of they ran out of numbers when every vehicle simply received a next-number-in-line plate. So quite some time ago now, Illinois created different vehicle catagories, so that with either a prefix or suffix letter on the plate to designate the class, the same number could now be used multiple times.

That worked fine for awhile, but as the state's vehicle population continued to grow, the state became close to running out of numbers again, so classes were broken up even further. The most obvious example of this were trucks and trailers that were broken up into sub-classes based on their weight.

But in keeping with what we're interested in here, the state created a "For Hire" class that included taxis, limousines/livery, and funeral vehicles. When that class got broken up, taxis received plates with the letters TX, livery received the letters LY, and funeral vehicles received FH, which literally stands for funeral home. And the FH plate can be issued to any vehicle that is owned by a funeral home, not only the hearse. And likewise, you need to be a licensed funeral home with the proper proof of insurance in order to be issued an FH plate.

Patrick J. Martin
05-30-2011, 11:41 AM
This thread got me thinking, perhaps our members could tell me if other states also have a specific funeral license plate.

I also heard a story awhile ago, concerning New Hampshire, whose state motto of "Live Free or Die" is on their license plates. I heard that they don't have a specific funeral license plate, but on plates that go to hearses, the "or Die" part of the motto is left off. I've always wondered if that's a true story.

Rick Franklin
05-30-2011, 02:39 PM
I have seen a Mississippi "Hearse" designated license plate.

Steve Lichtman
05-30-2011, 04:34 PM
Maryland Class "C" plates (formerly "CA") are for funeral home vehicles, not just the hearse, and private ambulances. Obviously a throwback to the time when private ambulances were funeral home vehicles. The tags end in "C", but there is no specific designation on the plate to indicate what it's for.

I have been told that the CA designation did NOT stand for "coach/ambulance", though it's tempting to believe so. I was told it was just the letters that were assigned.

Richard Vyse
05-30-2011, 07:15 PM
I have seen a Mississippi "Hearse" designated license plate.

The Mississippi plate.

Peter Jennings
06-01-2011, 08:20 PM
It's my understanding from our good friend Danny Ryder that Georgia uses "HB" for "hearse body". I had to ask for it at the tag office for the old 86 front wheel drive S&S I had.

John Burchfield
07-12-2011, 06:15 PM
It's my understanding from our good friend Danny Ryder that Georgia uses "HB" for "hearse body". I had to ask for it at the tag office for the old 86 front wheel drive S&S I had.

That's right Peter, and these plates were also used on private ambulances. I haven't seen one on an ambulance in a while so I don't know if that's still the case. I think I've seen H plus some letter other than B over the years, but it's been a while. I always thought the special hearse plates were cool!