temporary license plate law

New Bill Passed on Temporary Licence Plates Requirement

On July 25, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB-516 into law. The new legislation will go into effect January 1, 2019, and will require car dealers to provide temporary license plates with clearly displayed report-of-sale number and expiration date for newly purchased vehicles. This is a huge shift from the current law, which allows drivers to ride around in their new plate-free cars for up to 90 days.

According to South San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, the bill’s author, the purpose of the new law is to not only stop toll-road cheats, who cost the state $15 million a year in missed revenue, but also ensure law enforcement officers can identify vehicles on the road. Mullin wrote in a statement that the bill was inspired in part by the death of Michael Bonanomi, who was killed in 2013 by a car that was wearing dealer plates.

Critics warn that fines for registration violations could unfairly subject low-income drivers who are already facing economic hardship to a cascading series of court fines and late fees. However, supporters counter by saying that the legislation does include a measure that protects people from fines as long as they’ve submitted registration paperwork to the DMV.

To view the full bill text of AB-516, click here.

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