Local News

DMV To Include Ads With Mailings In Effort To Raise State's Revenue

Posted June 20, 2001

— You probably get advertisements in the mailbox everyday, but starting this month, you can expect to get them from an unlikely source -- the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. It is part of an effort to raise revenue at a time when the state is tightening its belt.

Starting this month, the DMV is including advertisements along with your license tag renewal form in the mail. DMV Commissioner Carol Howard says that, in a tight budget year, revenue from the ads will help pay for their online services.

"We've all been asked to look at more efficient ways to do our business and to help offset some of our costs, so we thought this was a great opportunity," she says. "Few citizens think we shouldn't advertise, but many more say [it's a] great, great idea."

However, some say the opportunity could get the state into legal trouble if it is not careful. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the the state opens itself up to lawsuits if it turns down potential advertisers.

"Once the state makes something available, a certain benefit available, it can't discriminate against the people who want to come and use the benefit," says Deborah Ross of the ACLU.

The DMV puts a disclaimer on the ads saying that it does not endorse the product or service. About 500,000 people in North Carolina get renewal forms every month, so the department expects to raise several hundred thousand dollars from the venture.

If it works, you may soon see the ads popping up in the state driver's manual and on the

DMV Web site



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