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February 11, 2016

PennDOT to eliminate Pennsylvania registration stickers in 2017

Shift to ALPR technology will aid law enforcement, generate savings and create greater convenience for drivers

PennDOT Drivers
02112016_PA_license_plate_wiki Rouge Falconer/via Wikipedia

On Jan. 1, 2017, the license plate sticker will fade into oblivion in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transporation announced Thursday a plan to eliminate registration stickers statewide and implement Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology that will aid law enforcement efforts and provide greater convenience to drivers.

The plan, set to take effect at the start of 2017, was confirmed after officers received a demonstration of the ALPR technology, which will be used to help them verify expired vehicle registrations in a PennDOT database.

“License plate reader technology allows a single law enforcement officer to quickly, accurately and reliably check the status of thousands of license plates on a single shift using information from PennDOT’s registration database to determine if there are expired registrations or lack of insurance for the vehicle,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “It is a true force multiplier.”

The transition to ALPR technology was incorporated as a provision of the Act 89 transportation funding law of 2013. As a result of the savings realized by the elimination of registration stickers, PennDOT has proposed a grant program that will support officers in purchasing and maintaining license plate readers.

The final registration stickers will be issued on Dec. 30, 2016. Customers will still be required to have their vehicles registered and inspected, but as of Jan. 1, 2017, they will no longer need to display a registration sticker. At that point, customers who renew their registrations online will be able to print and save a copy of an official registration card. In the future, PennDOT hopes to enable drivers to upload registration cards to their smartphone.

PennDOT believes the switch to ALPR technology will create a much more convenient renewal process for Pennsylvania drivers.

“Without the registration sticker, the future of Pennsylvania vehicle owners certainly looks brighter with respect to the registration renewal process,” said Richards. “By further leveraging technology, we can make renewing your vehicle’s registration and having an immediate, permanent registration credential in hand as easy as spending a few minutes online from your home computer.”

In addition to convenience for customers, the elimination of registration stickers will recoup further savings by cutting more than $2 million in annual mailing costs and $1 million in annual product costs.

You can learn more about the transition at the DMV website and read about how the new program was evaluated in a research study at Penn State University.