PA State Police: Expired registration stickers can stay on car, just be prepared if pulled over

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania drivers with those expired registration stickers have two choices - remove them from your vehicle or make sure you are prepared just in case you get pulled over out of state.

Politicians and law enforcement agencies from across the Keystone State have taken to social media to alert Pennsylvania drivers that there's a chance those expired stickers on your vehicle could lead to officers in other states turning on their sirens.

Back on December 31, 2016, PennDOT stopped issuing vehicle registration stickers as a cost savings measure. PennDOT said the elimination of the stickers results in a savings to taxpayers of $1.1-million per year, and an additional $2-million in mailing costs.

However, local authorities have seen reports of drivers getting pulled over for expired stickers when traveling in other states.

State Representatives including Karen Boback, Mike Tobash, Kerry Benninghoff, Dave Reed, and Seth Grove, as well as police departments in Spring Township and Tredyffrin Township are among those who posted to Facebook to alert drivers what they could do.

Most of the posts had similar wording as Rep. Boback's message:

"Pennsylvania drivers are encouraged to remove expired registration stickers from their license plates to avoid being pulled over by out-of-state police officers.

At the end of 2016, PennDOT stopped issuing the stickers, saving taxpayers more than $3 million. PennDOT has alerted police from other states and Canada of the lack of registration stickers. However, out-of-state police officers have reportedly pulled over Pennsylvania drivers who still have the outdated stickers on their plates.

PA State Police encourage residents who are pulled over to politely explain the change to the officer and show him or her registration paperwork, which should be in vehicles at all times."

On Monday, Pennsylvania State Police told Action News drivers can choose to remove their old stickers if they would like, but it is not mandatory.

State Police say drivers do need to have their registration paperwork in their vehicle at all times.

"PennDOT has conducted extensive outreach to law enforcement agencies in other states regarding the elimination of registration stickers, but should you get pulled over for not having an expired sticker, it's appropriate to politely explain the change to the officer and show them your registration card, which should show that the plate is valid. Furthermore, the officer should have the capability to query the registration through the nationwide law enforcement database NCIC (National Criminal Information Center). The system, which pulls information from PennDOT's databases, will show that the registration is in fact valid," Pennsylvania State Police tell Action News.

Back in August, the Southern Regional Police Department in York County posted about several reports regarding drivers receiving parking tickets and citations while in other states.

"If you feel you were charged with an offense related to those expired stickers wrongly and after you have exhausted your efforts with that agency please contact your local police station or state representative in hopes this problem may be corrected," the Southern Regional Police Department stated.

PennDOT said it has notified other jurisdictions of the elimination of registration stickers.

Pennsylvania is not alone in the stoppage of stickers. New Jersey eliminated registration stickers in 2004 and Connecticut followed in 2010.

The bottom line from state officials is if you still have a sticker on your car, that's fine, but as the Tredyffrin Township Police Department said, "If you went ahead and removed that expired sticker from your plate, that would be OK, too!"


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