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Old 10.08.2011, 07:50
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What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

I had heard that the first digit on a license plate indicated the number of years the owner had been driving. This simply made no sense to me since I've been driving for quite a long time already.

But I am noticing a trend where foreign people are all getting into cars with a license plate that begins with the same number, making it appear that when we're out on the street we're somehow coded for being excused from dumb driving mistakes... or easily targeted by xenophobes.

So I thought I'd ask. What number does your license plate begin with?
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Old 10.08.2011, 08:04
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

6 (5 digit) and 1 (6 digit)

Disclaimer: This reply is in no way indicative of support for your theory...
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Old 10.08.2011, 08:25
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

I'm driving for 11 years, yet my plate begins with 41. The infallible Swiss precision failed yet again!...(albeit just slightly)
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Old 10.08.2011, 08:33
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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I had heard that the first digit on a license plate indicated the number of years the owner had been driving. This simply made no sense to me since I've been driving for quite a long time already.

But I am noticing a trend where foreign people are all getting into cars with a license plate that begins with the same number, making it appear that when we're out on the street we're somehow coded for being excused from dumb driving mistakes... or easily targeted by xenophobes.

So I thought I'd ask. What number does your license plate begin with?
Unlike the US, number plates here run sequential and are issued like that for car registrations. Also, Swiss cities are rather small in size. For instance, Zurich has a mere 350k people and Basel has roughly 160k. Now, since there is no significant rise in population, it will take quite some time to reach another digit on the number plate. In case my post is still not clear. Say your number plate says ZH 347'987, it would simply mean, that you're the 347'987th driver to register a car in the canton of Zurich. Now most expats in Switzerland have not been here for such a long time and therefore, they naturally have a similar first digit on the license plate.

Last edited by lost_inbroad; 10.08.2011 at 09:39.
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Old 10.08.2011, 08:43
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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Now most expats in Switzerland have not been here for such a long time and therefore, they naturally have a similar first digit on the license plate.
Along with new "Swiss" drivers or anyone who's recently bought a car but hadn't owned one for some time. DMV here keeps your number plate up to 1 year (maybe 2? I forget) if you're between cars as the numbers belong to the driver, not the vehicle.
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Old 10.08.2011, 08:54
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

Sorry OP, no truth in that at all. License plates are numerically sequential and issued in batches. Lower numbers are seen as being "favorable" to the numerologists, but they mean nothing, these are re-issued if the previous owner doesn't quest the same plate back for another vehicle. Each Canton also uses a block for trailers and another for temporary plates due to theft or loss.

There are separate sequences for automobiles and for motorbikes, so there are theoretically two "12345" plates in each Canton, one for a car another for a two-wheeler.

Some Cantons also sell low plates by means of auction, which is kind of daft as you don't actually own the plate, you just have the right to use it as long as you have an approved vehicle. If you change your residence to another Canton, you have to apply for a new plate in that Canton.
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Old 10.08.2011, 08:55
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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I had heard that the first digit on a license plate indicated the number of years the owner had been driving. This simply made no sense to me since I've been driving for quite a long time already.

But I am noticing a trend where foreign people are all getting into cars with a license plate that begins with the same number, making it appear that when we're out on the street we're somehow coded for being excused from dumb driving mistakes... or easily targeted by xenophobes.

So I thought I'd ask. What number does your license plate begin with?
So if this is true, it means that the license plate has to be changed every year?
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:00
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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Some Cantons also sell low plates by means of auction, which is kind of daft as you don't actually own the plate, you just have the right to use it as long as you have an approved vehicle.
Totally daft..!!

http://www.auktion.stva.zh.ch/default.php
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:10
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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Some Cantons also sell low plates by means of auction, which is kind of daft as you don't actually own the plate, you just have the right to use it as long as you have an approved vehicle. If you change your residence to another Canton, you have to apply for a new plate in that Canton.
A bit like the private plates in the UK. I once saw the following licence plate on a top of the range Merc, which seemed to form some kind of divorce settlement... H15 LOS
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:22
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

In NE you can choose your number plate - provided it isn't already used of course. It costs about 40 CHF extra compared to just getting a random plate.
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:23
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

True, I sometimes have to chuckle, when I hear Swiss people pointing out a "good" number plate.
"Look, look...now that's a good number" and it's something along the line of ZH 44456.
I can't imagine how people here would react if all of the sudden customized license plates were allowed.
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:27
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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A bit like the private plates in the UK. I once saw the following licence plate on a top of the range Merc, which seemed to form some kind of divorce settlement... H15 LOS
The ex has emigrated to Australia where he can be seen in a Victoria registrerd car, rego: FAT CAT
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:28
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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I can't imagine how people here would react if all of the sudden customized license plates were allowed.
I know what mine would be.. (again).
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:30
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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I know what mine would be.. (again).
I (heart) LIB?

(ok, I stop now )
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Old 10.08.2011, 09:33
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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I can't imagine how people here would react if all of the sudden customized license plates were allowed.
They aren't allowed? What's with all those driving like tw@ts in cars clearly marked "BS" then?
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Old 10.08.2011, 10:13
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

Or AG - Actung! Gefahr! (Attention! Danger!) It's the buggers with VD I watch out for.
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Old 10.08.2011, 10:32
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

I have two that start with one, two that start with two, and one that starts with 4. Can't recall what my daughters vehicles start with. I think that all of my employers cars start with 291 (his birthday).

Tom
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Old 10.08.2011, 10:33
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

Not daft, clever. Taking money from vain posers for the benefit of the public.
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Old 10.08.2011, 10:35
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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They aren't allowed? What's with all those driving like tw@ts in cars clearly marked "BS" then?
Better than VD...
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Old 10.08.2011, 10:35
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Re: What is the first digit on a foreigner's license plate?

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Not daft, clever. Taking money from vain posers for the benefit of the public.
Actually, I'd assume to receive less hassle when crossing the Swiss border (on the way home from shopping in Germany ) with a low numbered license plate.
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