Using one of many online search portals, the general public can look up license plate numbers. However, a free search will yield you only general vehicle information like the year, the make and model, and some other mechanical details. If you need more than that, Kentucky has set up a portal where authorized users can search for license plate records. It is called Online Vehicle Information System (OVIS). With OVIS, you can see personal owner details like name, address, social security number, and more. When using this system, you have to be careful to follow the rules and regulations, or you may end up with steep fines or other penalties.
Before you can register your vehicle in Kentucky, you must first title it in the state. When registering your new vehicle, be sure to bring with you the following:
You must visit the county clerk's office in your county of residence. You must also prove insurance coverage and out-of-state insurance is allowable for military personnel only. Some vehicles can be renewed online, but a leased vehicle cannot. Anyone who is overdue on their property taxes cannot register a vehicle and must resolve that issue first.
The state of Kentucky has more than 150 different license plates to choose from in the following categories: Regular (Standard Issue), Special, University, Independent College, Military, Military Motorcycle, Miscellaneous, Disabled, and Special Motorcycle Plates.
Kentucky license plates can have only six characters (letters, symbols, and numbers), and each combination must be pre-approved before ordering. Some plates honor foundations and causes, and the money you pay for purchasing them goes to support it. A sampling of the 150 options are:
Kentucky follows the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), which states "(a) In General. - Except as provided in subsection (b), a State department of motor vehicles, and any officer, employee, or contractor, thereof, shall not knowingly disclose or otherwise make available to any person or entity personal information about any individual obtained by the department in connection with a motor vehicle record".
Kentucky also publishes information on what they consider "permissible uses," and they say this: "Personal information shall be disclosed to carry out the purposes of the Automobile Information Disclosure Act, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Saving Act, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992, and the Clean Air Act for use in connection with matters of:
It is entirely legal to lookup license plate numbers in Kentucky, at least for basic information. If you are looking for personal details about the vehicle owner, you must register with the state for authorization. Then you can view things like name, address, phone number, crash and offense history, driving records, registration details, title information, VIN, and more.
When requesting motor vehicle records, you will need to provide your name, address, driver's license number, phone number, and provide proof of your ability to receive records. The form needs to be signed and dated as well. You must be qualified by one of the permissible uses for personal driver details. You may also have to fill out other paperwork to gain approval, like licensing or verification of the industry you work in.
When using the OVIS system, you can look up records by a license plate number or VIN. However, the more information you have about the vehicle or driver, the easier it will be to find a match. The service costs $75/year and .44 for each record that you access. There is also a national title registry you can use to look vehicles up using the VIN. You can view crash reports, the full vehicle history, and any open recalls.
If you get into a situation where you need to locate the owner of a license plate in Kentucky, the best option is to contact the police or county offices to inquire. The police may be able to contact the person for you, but it is doubtful that they will provide you with personal details. Due to strict DPPA laws, they are not able to share with you that information.
Kentucky follows the federal DPPA rules pretty closely, and they only allow certain people in specific industries access to motor vehicle and license plate records. As listed on their OVIS application, the following are acceptable users:
It is very easy to look up a license plate in Kentucky for free. The information you may find, though, will be limited to only make, model, and year of the vehicle. The reason for this is strict DPPA laws that dictate how personal information from motor vehicle records may be used and who can access them.