Uncommon NC license plate sparks confusion
Posted February 24, 2016
Updated March 2, 2016
So many cars, so many license plates. But like a social security number, phone number or address, a license plate number should be unique.
Amy Martin has a pretty uncommon North Carolina license plate.
"I just love Dr. Who and that he says 'allons-y','" Martin said.
The French phrase, made popular by the British TV series, means "let's go!"
"I thought maybe someone would have something similar, but never the exact same tag," Martin said.
In May, Martin visited the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle's website and plugged in different combinations of numbers and letters to make her custom license plate. Using a 5 instead of a S, she created her license plate. It read ALLON5-Y.
But, in the fall, she received a bill from NC Quick Pass.
"I went online because I was going to pay it, although I couldn't remember actually having used the toll way," Martin said.
Martin drives a black Honda Civic, but she said the picture online was of a Saturn Vue with the exact same North Carolina license plate.
"My jaw dropped," she said. "I was like 'what?' I went out to check my car. I was like maybe someone stole my plate."
It turned out, the other plate had expired in 2014. Under DMV rules, any personalized plate that is not renewed becomes available after 90 days.
"I would hate to think, you know if something happened, if the other person with this plate were to get into an accident or a hit-and-run, and a witness saw the license plate (that) they would come looking for me," Martin said.
Five on Your Side reached out to the DMV. The agency said the case was a first for them, and contacted the other driver who tuned in the expired tag.
"I think it's crazy. I mean, it's nice to know there is another Dr. Who fan out there with excellent taste in license plates," she said.
The DOT told 5 on Your Side that there is not a penalty for driving with an expired license plate, unless the driver is stopped by law enforcement, then a person can be ticketed.