Q: Do you know when the Bronze Star plates will be available? Also, will I be able to get it with the same veteran plate that I now have?
— Stephen F.
A: The Bronze Star plates should be available in a couple of months. Software development that needs to take place will take several months.
The design of the plate and the production of material for these plates will also take several months. Both of these things will be done simultaneously.
I’m sure there will be a press release that will notify the public when they are ready. However, I will keep your email and name handy so that when they are available, I will reach out to you.
The DMV is trying not to issue the same registration across different plate types, so I’m not positive that you’ll be able to get the same registration.
Thank you for your service to our country and the sacrifices that you and your family made. It is very much appreciated.
Q: I currently have a Disabled Veteran/War Veteran plate that expires in December 2023. I am 100% disabled, due to the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam, incurred from June 1969 to June 1970.
I also qualify for the new Bronze Star plate that will be coming out in the near future. I had one of these when I lived in Massachusetts, and I was very proud to be able to display it. I always felt that Rhode Island should have one.
If I apply for the Bronze Star plate (when it is offered), will I be able to retain all the privileges I currently enjoy with my Disabled Veteran plate (e.g. free parking at the beach)?
— David C., Tiverton
A: First, I’d like to thank you for your service to our country and the sacrifices you made.
Second, the law (31-3-48.2 Plates for recipients of the Bronze Star Medal) is not similar to the Disabled Veteran plate. Registration fees would still be required for vehicles that have the Bronze Star Plate on it. I have copied the law below.
31-3-48.2. Plates for recipients of the Bronze Star Medal
(a) The administrator of the division of motor vehicles is empowered to make available to recipients of the United States Bronze Star Medal a special motor vehicle registration plate indicating the owner as a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. The applicant shall be required to pay a registration fee and a transfer charge of five dollars ($5.00) for the plate.
(b) The plate shall contain the words "Bronze Star Medal" across the top of the plate, shall bear an insignia for the Bronze Star Medal, and then a numeral or numerals.
(c) Upon the death of the holder of any "Bronze Star Medal" plate, the plate shall be transferred to the surviving spouse for the spouse's lifetime or until remarriage.
Update: The design of this plate is almost finalized. Sample plates are being produced for review by the Rhode Island State Police. Once approved, it will take about two months for the material to be made. Software development is also taking place right now, so hopefully we will be able to start offering the plate before the end of the year. I will be sure to announce it here in my column when it is available.
Chuck Hollis is assistant administrator of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask the DMV” in the subject field.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Ask the RI DMV: When will Bronze Star veteran license plates be ready?