Check your vehicle registration. No more rego stickers leads to spike in fines.

Chances are you’ve had to renew your vehicle registration this year and have discovered that rego stickers are now a thing of the past. NSW abolished registration labels on 1stJanuary this year after a review found that labels were not necessary to support compliance and the enforcement of vehicle registration, and further the presence of a label was not an indicator that a vehicle is registered.

The move by NSW follows WA who abolished rego stickers in 2010, followed by SA in 2011. Since NSW introduced the change this year both VIC and QLD have announced they will follow.

THE GOVERNMENT CASHES IN

While most of us are probably happy not to have to worry about the stickers, this simple change has had financial ramifications for many and has turned out to be a major cash cow for State Governments.

There is an obvious cost saving in the printing and distribution of the rego labels. However it’s the drivers now getting caught out as a result of unknowingly driving an unregistered vehicle, or simply not being organised enough to renew their own registration on time that’s proving a revenue raiser.

The interesting story here is that [coincidentally] most State Governments raised their fines for unregistered vehicles around the same time rego labels were abolished.  Earlier this year in NSW the fine for an unregistered vehicle was $596, plus a further $596 for not having a CTP. It’s now risen to $607 x 2.

It’s not a surprise that the number of fines issued has also risen. In SA the fines issued rose by 22% in the first year. The major reason for this rise is that many people are being caught out, forgetting to renew their registration and in many cases not receiving their rego papers in the mail. It will be interesting to see how that pans out in other states.

In NSW for example if you have an unpaid fine, your rego papers will not be issued until this fine is paid. So forgetting to pay that fine, could get you caught out.

Most of us can remember to pay our bills on time and set ourselves reminders. However one of the biggest risks to individuals is driving someone else’s unregistered vehicle unknowingly. If you borrow a mates car who has forgotten to pay that fine, and renew their rego, it becomes your responsibility. Even worse if you’re in an accident you won’t be insured.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Do a registration check! The NSW Roads and Maritime Services has an app called NSW Rego that allows you to enter any registration number and quickly check if it’s registered. It also (claims) to allow you to set reminders for your own registration.

So I downloaded it and checked it out. The Registration Check was simple and easy to use. There is also a handy map of your local E-Safety Check Centres. Disappointingly though when I first downloaded the app it asked me if I wanted to set a reminder for my own vehicle. I said ‘yes’ and then nothing happened. On the app itself I can’t find anywhere where I can tell it my registration number???

So all in all the app is a handy way to do a simple registration check and not get caught out when driving someone else’s vehicle. And setting a reminder in your own calendar should combat any rego papers that ‘go missing’.

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