Proposal to add a 2-for-1 sticker to Pennsylvania vehicles is awaiting House committee vote

Registration stickers haven't been on Pennsylvania vehicles since 2017.

But, a proposal could bring those stickers back in a two-for-one deal that would also eliminate inspection stickers on the front of vehicles.

House Bill 1509 introduced by State Rep. Barry Jozwiak is proposing combining inspection and registration into one sticker that would be placed on the back of vehicles.

Rep. Jozwiak told FOX43, the bill seeks to address multiple issues including verifying that vehicles are registered, inspected and insured. He also hopes the bill will allow police officers to spot registration offenders more quickly.

"Take three license plates. Put one in front of you with an expired sticker, one with no sticker, and one with a sticker that's not expired. Which is the good plate? It's the one that's not expired," said Jozwiak.

Jozwiak added, he believes the measure would increase safety for police by moving inspection stickers to the back.

"It would take the sticker off the front of the car, which is a safety factor for police so that a police officer doesn't need to walk up to the front of the car to see if the car's inspected," said Jozwiak.

Swatara Police Lt. Dennis Krahling admits the lack of a registration sticker does make things a bit more 'difficult.' But, he added it shouldn't change the way officers do business because if they see an expired sticker, they most likely would still verify the information.

"Obviously, with the old (registration) stickers being on the plate, just by looking at the plate, you could tell whether or not it was registered, whether or not it was expired. Now, what our officers have to do is actually enter that information into our mobile data computer and wait for that to come back on the computer," said Lt. Krahling.

Swatara Police said motorists who are found without a current vehicle registration could face a fine plus court costs.

As for Pennsylvania State Police, a spokesperson told FOX43 said statistics taken in April of 2019 show "that troopers have no issue checking license plates and registration status while on patrol."

The following shows PSP expired registration citation numbers through April 4, 2019:

Expired Registration Citations

Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Ryan Tarkowski added, "troopers check vehicle registrations via the mobile office in their patrol vehicles. The system uses license plate numbers to query PennDOT’s databases and determine whether or not a registration is valid. This method provides up-to-date, real-time information. Conversely, registration stickers can be stolen, transferred from one vehicle to another, or become invalid because of a lapse of insurance coverage, while appearing to be lawful."

The bill is still awaiting a vote from the House committee.

Rep. Jozwiak claims "in 2017 alone, PennDOT saw a $22 million reduction in the amount of fees collected for both new and renewal vehicle registrations in just the passenger car category of vehicles."

However, PennDOT is against the bill and it challenges the importance of registration stickers. PennDOT released the following statement:

"PennDOT is still opposed to this bill. As background, the decision to eliminate the vehicle registration sticker wasn’t taken lightly – in 2011, Penn State studied the impact of eliminating the sticker and concluded that “based on an examination of available data from all 50 states over several years, a comparison of outcomes reveals that there is no statistical evidence that the elimination of stickers has any statistically significant impact on the number of vehicle registrations, the ability of police to make drug arrests, or on the number of motor vehicle thefts. This, combined with the reported cost savings due to sticker elimination, implies that the elimination of stickers passes the cost-benefit test for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Since the elimination of license plate registration stickers inception PennDOT has realized over $7M in savings.

Additionally, it is important to note that several other U.S. jurisdictions (New Jersey and Connecticut to name two) as well as Quebec discontinued, several years ago, the issuance of license plate registration stickers.
In addition to cost savings, PennDOT’s goal in the elimination of the sticker is customer convenience and modernization of our processes. Customers also appreciate having the option to renew for two years. Because PennDOT no longer issues registration stickers, our customers can print their registration card from their home printer when they renew online. Trucking companies in particular, like the program since in the past when a vehicle was renewed it may be across the country creating logistics issues with getting the sticker to the location of the truck. That inconvenience no longer exist. Customers have been clear they like the elimination of the registration sticker and the convenience it has allowed. Registration numbers have not been impacted due to these changes.

PennDOT has done extensive communications with law enforcement regarding PA’s elimination of the registration sticker. PennDOT staff has worked with PSP regarding the communications to PA law enforcement as well as law enforcement in other states."

- Alexis Campbell, PennDOT spokesperson

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