PHOENIX — Drivers waiting to get new license plates for their vehicles will have to wait a bit longer. A worldwide aluminum shortage is causing a delay in production of Arizona license plates, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Drivers who ordered specialty plates after May 21 will receive their plates starting this week . Drivers who ordered standard plates after May 21 will start receiving their plates the week of June 14.
The department explained in a press release that Arizona Correctional Industries, a branch of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry, did not receive its scheduled shipment of aluminum to make more license plates and did not have any in stock to continue production of license plates.
Because of the situation, ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division has called in a backup license plate supplier, Intellectual Technology Inc., to produce the plates until the supply issue is resolved. However, switching to ITI is still going to result in a delay in getting license plates to motorists, according to ADOT.
“We regret that customers will experience this delay,” MVD Director Eric Jorgensen said. “When we learned that our primary vendor didn’t receive the aluminum it was expecting, MVD immediately implemented its backup plan with ITI, a vendor we’ve worked with before, to ensure that plate production could begin as quickly as possible.”
Despite the delay, the division will continue to process and issue license plate numbers for vehicles. As long as the proper information has been submitted before the expiration of the temporary permit for the vehicle, the vehicle will show as valid in the MVD’s system for law enforcement officers. The MVD is also in touch with law enforcement agencies, dealerships and others about the situation.
On the positive side, the pinch in the source of aluminum for plates may give the MVD enough time to switch to a new font on state plates.
Arizona is not the only state to have problems getting aluminum. ADOT pointed out that other states and several industries, like beverage can manufacturers, are having problems. ADOT also is having problems finding aluminum for street signs.