Looking for information on a vehicle in Pennsylvania? Whether you’re the owner of the car or just curious about a passing vehicle, a Pennsylvania license plate lookup can provide you with a myriad of details, including lien record, ownership history, service history and more. In this guide, we’ll explain how to conduct a license plate lookup in Pennsylvania and what kind of information you can expect to find. We’ll also give some tips on how to use this information effectively.
Let’s get started!
As of 2019, there were over 10,800,315 million registered vehicles (3.9% of the national total) and 8,987,676 licensed drivers in the state of Pennsylvania. In 2020, 104,475 traffic crashes were reported in Pennsylvania, out of which 25,021 involved speeding, 11,019 crashes due to distracted driving and 10,483 crashes due to improper turning. Further, Pennsylvania is among the top five states for road rage incidents.
There are a few different ways to conduct a Pennsylvania license plate lookup. One way is to request the information from Pennsylvania DMV. Another way is to hire a private investigator. Finally, you can carry out the search on private license plate databases for a small fee.
1) Pennsylvania DMV
Under certain circumstances, you can request information about a driver through Pennsylvania DMV. Although they will not process any request solely on the license plate alone, a request can be made using the vehicle identification number (VIN).
If you want free facts like this from PennDOT, you must complete Form DL-135 which costs $12 per record request.
Like other states, there are certain requirements to be able to ask for driver information based only on the license plate in accordance with the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).
There are many permissible uses for Pennsylvania license plate information, provided that you have the appropriate authorization.
2) Use a Private Investigator
Another option to look up a Pennsylvania license plate is to use the services of a private investigator. A PI can help you acquire the information you need in a more timely and discreet manner.
There are benefits to using a PI, such as:
Make sure that the PI you choose is licensed and insured.
3) Third-Party Websites and Services
A few different websites and services allow you to look up a Pennsylvania license plate online. These services have access to several private and proprietary databases and usually offer more in-depth vehicle information. You can expect detailed vehicle history, including service records, accident history and whether the vehicle was ever reported stolen. For permissible reasons (as defined in DPPA), you may also be able to view vehicle ownership records.
LookupAPlate allows you to search a plate for free in Pennsylvania and the rest of the US states. Just enter the plate in the search bar above, select the state as Pennsylvania and click on the ‘Search’ button. The free basic search finds out whether the plate number is available for registration or not [in the case of vanity plates] and the associated vehicle details. For an additional fee, you can fetch a comprehensive vehicle report from our partner data provider.
Pennsylvania license plate measures 12 by 6 inches in and has a white background with white, yellow and blue bars. The registration number is screen printed in blue. Further, on the top, “Pennsylvania” is printed in bold and “visitPA.com” is written in the bottom center.
The Pennsylvania registration plate number is seven characters long and follows this pattern: ABC-1234. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Driver & Vehicle Services introduced the current series in June 2017.
Pennsylvania is one of 21 states that require to display number plate only at the rear of the vehicle.
When you look up a license plate in Pennsylvania, you can expect to find information on the vehicle’s make, model, year, and color. If you have a legally valid reason (as per DPPA), you may also be able to see the owner’s name and contact information. In some cases, you may also be able to find the vehicle’s sale history, service history and insurance information.
Jason Arthur is a data junkie, writer, veteran amateur racecar driver and motorsport photographer. He is the co-founder of LookupaPlate, a collaborative platform to report bad drivers plying on American roads. He is also building a blockchain-based vehicle data marketplace (in stealth mode) and is an adviser to several startups.
Jason has been tracking the automotive industry since the 1990s and has a disturbingly deep obsession with the automotive world, and loves to explore whatever roads he can find. From high-speed racing on the circuit to off-road exploration, Jason has an insatiable appetite for adventure. Jason has written for numerous publications, including Autocar Magazine, Motorsport Magazine, and Road & Track.