Local News

New laws affecting drivers, dealers, owners

Posted November 4, 2010

Several laws passed by the General Assembly will become effective in December 2010 and January 2011, affecting the state’s drivers, automobile dealers and vehicle owners, the Department of Transportation announced Thursday. 

Beginning Dec. 1:

– A vehicle owner whose license plate frame or cover makes a number or letter on the plate, the state name, or the number or month on the registration renewal sticker illegible can be penalized up to $100.

– Commercial driver licenses will expire five years after issuance because of requirements for meeting hazardous materials regulations. A CDL used to expire on the same schedule as the regular Class C driver license.

– The number of dealer license plates which can be issued to dealers will increase based on previous sales volume and the number of qualified sales representatives working with the dealer. Dealer plates may be used for demonstration purposes with an appropriate permit.

– The use of transporter plates will be restricted to motor vehicles being used for business purposes only, and the business operator must show proof of insurance. Fines for violating these requirements have been increased to $100 for the individual driver and $250 per occurrence charged to the dealer or business.

– The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will no longer charge vehicle owners a $1 postage and handling fee for renewing their vehicle registration by mail.

Effective Jan. 1, 2011:

– The term of issuance for persons receiving a driver license will increase to eight years for a person 18-65 years old. A driver license issued to a person 66 years old and older expires after five years. Formerly, the law required a five-year license for those 55 years old and older.

– A motorcycle learner’s permit will be issued for only 12 months, and only one renewal of six months will be allowed. Anyone under 18 who applies to get a motorcycle learner’s permit or a driver license with a motorcycle endorsement must pass a course taught by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or the N.C. Motorcycle Safety Education Program.

Other changes in motor vehicle laws became effective earlier in 2010:

– Beginning in July, the three-day trip permit was replaced by a 10-day trip permit which may be issued to a person whose vehicle is not currently registered and needs to pass an inspection. The permit authorizes a person with proof of insurance to drive a vehicle whose inspection has expired to have the vehicle properly inspected and then registered. These permits are issued either by the DMV License and Theft Bureau or by any contract license plate agency.

– Beginning Sept. 1, the fee for restoring a driver license which has been revoked for impaired driving increased from $75 to $100, and the $25 increase is used to fund a statewide chemical alcohol testing program administered by the Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch of the Chronic Disease and Injury Section of the Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining $75 is deposited in the General Fund.

– On Oct. 1, legislation took effect which does not allow the holder of a commercial driver license to have a disqualification expunged from his record. Also beginning that date, a sex offender who is registered in another state and moves to North Carolina must also register as a sex offender in North Carolina.


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  • nccopper Nov 4, 2010

    "That $25 for the Forensic Tests for Alcohol sounds like a scam, exactly what is this and how does it benefit the citizens of our state?"
    TO Mugu:
    The $25 fee you call a scam, is used to fund the entire Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch, Department of Health and Human Services. The FTA branch "BY LAW" is a receipt funded ONLY agency receiving NO TAX dollars from the general fund. The DWI drivers pay for this service. FTA branch trains and certifies Law Enforcement Officers in chemical analysis testing. They train officers to perform breath testing analysis on DWI drivers charge with implied consent offenses. They also train officers in the detection of impaired drivers and testify in state courts as expert witness' in DWI related issues. If you need more info, look up FTA on the DHHS website. Your welcome !

  • Sherlock Nov 4, 2010

    Just love the new plate cover law, this should really put money in the cops retireement funds now. Stopping every car on the road.

  • BruiserB Nov 4, 2010

    During a recent checkpoint stop (late September) the officer told my wife she should remove her license plate frame now. He also said that fines would be issued beginning November 1st. Hmmmm, where did he get his info from??

  • larieke Nov 4, 2010

    They won't charge the extra dollar for mail renewal, but what about the extra dollar they charge for internet renewal?

  • pyranna Nov 4, 2010

    I see through it now after looking twice, get examined in accordance with expiration date. Wonder how it afflicts others.

  • u stand corrected Nov 4, 2010

    No doubt.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 4, 2010

    "The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will no longer charge vehicle owners a $1 postage and handling fee for renewing their vehicle registration by mail."

    I don't understand this one. I do it by mail and I pay the extra dollar. It offsets the costs for the DMV to first mail me the renewal, process my check, then mail me the new registration with the sticker. The 1 dollar fee seemed reasonable.

  • wildcat Nov 4, 2010

    Good laws.

  • harmstrong4 Nov 4, 2010

    I am just so dang proud to be 68 years old and able to pay twice as much as those under 65.

  • pyranna Nov 4, 2010

    Wow, I'm 54 and up for renewal the first part of the year. Wonder how this afflicts me? Already been sent a "heads up" notice and know what the license expiration states. The issue is that the expiration date is on birthdate when 55. I'm certainly not going to ignore it although I've not been pulled in greater than 20 years and then didn't get a ticket. I'll be 55 after the first. Wierd, guess I'll go ask them some dumb questions.