When license tabs expire

The in basket: Paul Drnjevic of Bremerton recently came to the realization that a person can be cited for an expired license registration after the day of the month shown on the registration form, not just from the first day of the month after the month shown on the tab.

He thinks a lot of car owners are of the opposite impression, especially since that’s the way it used to be. He has no objection to spreading the expiration dates throughout each month, to avoid long lines at renewal centers, but thinks the renewal forms should make more of a point about the date after which one is risking a ticket.

If you get pulled over for some other reason between the expiration date and the end of that month, it can cost you extra money.

The out basket: Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing says, “I did a little research and discovered that until January 1977, all vehicle registrations were based on a calendar year and they all expired on Dec. 31 of a given year. “In 1977, vehicle registration renewal dates

were distributed throughout all 12 months of the year. When the state went to this system, expiration dates were on the last day of the month of expiration.

“Then, sometime between 1987 and 1990, DOL began assigning

registration expiration dates that corresponded with the particular

calendar date the vehicle was first registered. So, we’ve been operating under our current process for more than 20 years.

“As for noting the particular expiration date on renewal notices and

registration certificates, we have always done that. We specifically

include the expiration date in a MM/DD/YYYY format,” Brad said. The department would be reluctant to further complicate the already busy forms with a specific warning about the enforcement date when the public has had more than 20 years of experience with the way it is, he said.

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