LookupAPlate is a free nationwide license plate lookup service and a community platform to report unsafe driving and bad drivers. With over 294 million registered vehicles in the US, searching a license plate number may feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, but we’ve got you covered. We make finding a specific license plate easy for you.
Our tool lets you quickly identify the vehicle by license plate number. You can view key vehicle specs, check recalls, submit bad driving reports, and request vehicle ownership details from our partner service (for valid reasons). No need to create an account or sign up - simply enter the license plate number and select the state to get started.
There are various instances where searching for a license plate becomes necessary. Here are some scenarios:
The license plate search can yield detailed information about the vehicle and potentially the owner. However, some information might be restricted depending on who you are and for what reason you are conducting the search.
In general, you can expect to find the following data:
To obtain Personal Identifiable Information (PII), such as the vehicle owner’s name, address etc., a valid reason that complies with DPPA regulations is necessary (more on that below).
Typically looking up someone’s license plate involves filing a DPPA-2 form with the local DMV office. This process can be time-consuming, especially when you just need vehicle-related information and are not interested in the ownership records.
Searching for license plates on LookupAPlate is quick, noob-friendly and, of course, FREE. Additionally, unlike other websites, you can search directly without providing personal information or registering.
And that’s about it - we told you it’s easy.
Yes, it’s perfectly legal to run someone’s license plate, provided you have a valid reason as defined in the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). DPPA basically prohibits and regulates sharing of personally identifiable vehicle owner data like name, address, photo and phone number without a legitimate reason.
As per DPPA, the permissible uses are:
There can be several scenarios where one might want to look up the license plate owner's information. There are situations such as bad parking, hit-and-run incidents, or dealing with towing or insurance companies where conducting a license plate search may be necessary.
As previously stated, it's necessary to have a valid reason that complies with the DPPA Act to conduct a license plate search and obtain the owner's information. The limitations are in place to prevent the misuse of the data.
To begin, please provide the license plate details and choose the registration state (above). On the following page, you will have a list of acceptable reasons. Pick the one that best suits your situation, and you can request the license plate details.
Please remember you have the responsibility of selecting the correct choice. Therefore, it is important to answer truthfully.
In short: Yes, it is possible to search for the owner of a vehicle using their license plate, but only if you have a valid reason to do so.
It may come as a surprise, but there can be multiple vehicles with the same license plate number in the US. This is because license plate numbers are only unique within the state, allowing for the possibility of duplicate tag numbers across the country.
After analyzing internal user data, we found that approximately 16% of users enter the tag number incorrectly, and about 19% choose the wrong state.
Sometimes, the tag number may not be clearly visible, or one may not remember the entire number. In these scenarios, your only option is to try different combinations and verify if the result matches the vehicle you want to report.
Choosing the correct state can sometimes be tricky. This is because the vehicle you want to report may not necessarily be registered in the same state where the incident occurred. It could be an out-of-state vehicle, so it's crucial to take cues from the license plate design as well. While in most states, the license plate designs display the state name or motto for clarity, but some newer and personalized plates may not. This can cause confusion in identifying which state the license plate belongs to.
To determine the state associated with a license plate, users can perform an online search (google image can be helpful here) by referencing the license plate design. Our state pages feature the most frequently used license plate designs for each state, which can also be helpful in identifying the state of a particular license plate.
Tl;dr: To ensure a successful search, it's important to accurately type in the license plate and select the correct state. If your search doesn't yield any results, consider trying different combinations or searching in other states.
As per the 2019 NHTSA report:
Clearly, American roads are seeing an increasing number of bad drivers and reckless driving. When you encounter someone driving rashly or a bad driver, you can make a difference by reporting the plate on our website. Every day we get multiple comments, pictures and videos of bad drivers on the platform. Publicly naming and shaming the plate owner may just be what it takes to deter them from bad driving!