State vehicle registration system in sticky situation

State legislators do not have enough information yet to repeal Act 89, which ended the requirement for registration expiration stickers to be placed on a vehicle’s license plate.

State Rep. Barry Jowziak, R-Berks, has been trying for the past two legislative sessions to get legislation reinstating the stickers passed in the Legislature, with the House Transportation Committee passing the bill this past week.

The legislation makes it easier for police to spot vehicles with expired registrations, but we note a 2019 New Castle News story that showed state troopers wrote more tickets for expired registrations in 2018 than they did in 2016, the last year the stickers were placed on license plates.

The real question is whether drivers are not renewing their registration. Jowziak says there has been enough of a drop in registrations to have cost PennDOT $51 million over three years while PennDOT says the agency has seen no evidence to support that claim while also claiming to have saved nearly $12 million since the stickers were eliminated.

Only one of those claims can be true. We suggest the Auditor General investigate Jowziak’s claim.

If registration renewals are indeed down, then the stickers should be reinstated. For now, though, legislators need more information before making a decision.


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