New law to curb expired license tags in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A new state law aims to reduce the number of Missouri residents driving vehicles with expired temporary license tags.

The measure taking effect Aug. 28 will require drivers to turn in temporary tags to a state license office when obtaining permanent plates and paying sales tax on newly purchased vehicles. The legislation attempts to keep the temporary paper tags from showing up illegally on another vehicle, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Misuse and fraudulent use of temporary tags has been a statewide issue, according to Missouri Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike O'Connell.

"We must start somewhere and this was the first step," said Democratic Rep. Donna Baringer, who helped get the bill through the Legislature in May.

The law doesn't require or allow the department to refuse to issue a plate if a temporary tag isn't turned in, said Revenue Department spokeswoman Anne Marie Moy.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said that means drivers will be able to get away with not turning in their temporary tags if they don't want to.

"The law-abiding people will follow the law," Fitch said.

Fitch proposes that lawmakers pass a measure requiring car dealers to collect sales tax and issue plates at the time of sale, which would eliminate the need for most temporary tags.

Baringer is considering possible measures to incentivize drivers ticketed for expired tags, such as waiving court costs as long as they pay their sales tax, buy required insurance and get plates.

Baringer also wants to encourage more car buyers to finance their vehicles through certain credit unions that roll car insurance costs into the loan. Pushing companies to offer public transportation passes to employees could also prevent residents from buying cars without having money for ancillary costs, such as insurance, she said.

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