Road Worrier Blog

NCDMV switches from two color-coded stickers to a gray one

Schematic of the new month-year registration renewal sticker the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will start issuing for each license plate.
Schematic of the new month-year registration renewal sticker the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will start issuing for each license plate. NCDMV

For you law enforcement officers who rely on color-coded stickers to spot expired car registrations from a distance, the Division of Motor Vehicles is about to make you look more closely.

DMV says it will end the system of putting two stickers on each license plate – one for the registration renewal month, and one for the year. Under the current system, dating from 1976, each year is a different color: pink for 2015, black for 2016.

The new system will stamp the renewal month and year in a numeric format – for example, 03-16 for March 2016 – on a single sticker that will be the same color every year: gray.

Car owners soon will begin receiving the new gray stickers when they renew their registrations. DMV is asking them to put the new gray sticker, which also includes the car’s license number, in the upper right corner of the license plate. They’re asked to get rid of the old red month stickers.

Why make the change? The legislature ordered it in 2014, upon request from DMV. DMV says it will realize “a signficant cost savings” when it stops producing two stickers for each car. That’s an estimated $70,025 per year.

Meanwhile, the House budget offers new incentives for drivers to keep their car registrations up to date: a late fee. If the Senate agrees, car owners will be penalized $15 to $25 dollars for expired registrations, depending on how many months they’re out of date.

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