At the invitation of PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards, legislators and law enforcement officers Wednesday received a demonstration of Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology that provides law enforcement a better tool to verify expired vehicle registrations.

“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 Richards. “It is a true force multiplier.”

Plate reader technology holds numerous advantages over the visual inspection of registration stickers, which can be counterfeited, sold, affixed to dead plates or applied to plates for which they were not intended. By querying the registration information using ALPR technology, a law enforcement officer can identify expired vehicle registrations and insurance coverage. If there is something wrong, the officer would be immediately alerted by the ALPR of a problem with the vehicle’s registration.

To help law enforcement to prepare for the provision of Act 89 of 2013 that eliminates issuance of vehicle registration stickers by 2017, PennDOT is proposing a grant program utilizing the savings from the elimination of the registration stickers. The grant program could provide grants to law enforcement officers for the purchase and maintenance of license plate readers.

With the elimination of registration stickers beginning Jan. 1, 2017, customers will see a significant benefit in increased convenience when renewing vehicle registrations.

“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.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, customers who renew online will be able save a copy of and print a permanent registration card on demand. Future plans also include allowing customers to eventually upload their registration cards to their smart phones and eliminate the requirement to print a copy altogether.

Further savings will be realized in reduced mailing costs. Currently, 40 percent of customers already renew vehicle registrations online. Eliminating the need to mail these customers a registration sticker coupled with the ability to print their registration card on demand will eliminate more than $2 million per year in mailing costs. In addition, the elimination of the registration stickers will save $1 million a year in product costs, bringing the estimated first year savings to approximately $3.1 million.

The last registration sticker will be issued Dec. 30, 2016. Customers will still need to have their vehicles registered and inspected, but will not be required to display a registration sticker on their license plate after Dec. 31, 2016.

For more information on the plan to eliminate registration stickers, visit:, and look under the Registration Stickers tab under Vehicle Registration. The elimination of the registration sticker was evaluated as part of a Penn State University research study that concluded eliminating the registration sticker would have no impact on compliance with vehicle registration laws. 

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