Local News

Vehicle inspection stickers disappear, fee remains

Posted March 17, 2009

— Vehicle inspection stickers will soon be a thing of the past, although you'll still be paying for them.

Vehicle inspections no longer noted by windshield stickers Vehicle inspections no longer noted by stickers

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, on Nov. 1, launched an electronic system that tracks vehicle inspections and blocks motorists from registering their vehicles until they are inspected.

The move, in part, was an effort to coordinate yearly inspections with license plate renewal to help better enforce inspections and vehicle registrations.

It also means the state has stopped printing inspection stickers. Drivers will be notified of their inspection and registration deadlines by mail.

Although most people agree that's a good thing, they question why they still have to pay for a sticker. Out of the $30 inspection fee, $6.25 goes toward a sticker fee.

"It has never really been a sticker fee," said Chuck Irvin, a DMV district supervisor in Charlotte.

Irvin says that with the November law change, the paperwork and software were changed to call it an "e-sticker," even though the fee has never had anything to do with any kind of sticker – regular or electronic.

The $6.25 designated for the sticker is actually divided among various programs, including emissions and volunteer rescue.

"It probably ought to say electronic authorization fee – (that) is the way it is in the statute," Irvin said. "When you look at the $6.25, it is an electronic authorization fee."

Irvin says that the paperwork-wording change will be considered for the next software update.

The $6.25 is considered a tax and the remaining $23.75 goes to the inspecting station.

To help motorists better understand the program and find out when their vehicles need to be registered, the DMV has posted more information about the program on its Web site, including a No-Sticker calculator to figure out when their vehicle needs to be inspected.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • churd Mar 20, 2009

    In the past 10 years in the area, I have bought and sold a number of used cars. One encouraging selling or buying point is to see "Current Inspection". (Proven with that sticker)
    I recently paid to have my vehicle inspected, good through January, 2010. No sticker in my window. I am now putting this vehicle up for sale just 4 months later.
    Will the person who buys my car, have to get it inspected when they register it? If so, how many vehicles will be sold and have inspections twice in one year? (Could that be a lot of money? ...will the vehicle be twice as safe?)
    Or will the perchaser be notified by mail in Dec. '09 that the inspection is due?

  • udoowutchyalike Mar 20, 2009

    "It has never really been a sticker fee."
    That's total bull, the inspection station had to purchase these stickers, and still do even though they won't be getting anything for the fee. And the rest of the fee going to the station is needed, those machines cost a ton of money, and for small hometown guys, they need to do a lot of inspections to pay for the cost of those machines

  • LuvLivingInCary Mar 20, 2009

    as long as you have democrats in the nc state government don't complain about taxes...it will never change.

  • GoGreen Mar 19, 2009

    "The $6.25 is considered a tax"

    Hmmm, time to go update schedule A. I already claim the RTP fee.

  • wp Mar 19, 2009

    Another croc on NC...there are several states that don't even make people have their cars inspected...it's just a way to get more money out of us...

  • Firefox 384 Mar 19, 2009

    South Carolina did away with their inspections a few years ago.. Wonder why??

  • 1969 800A Mar 18, 2009

    "nobody's mentioned the $23 that goes to the stoner greasemonkey for beeping your hi-beams and flashing your horn?"

    Actually, it's a lot more in-depth than that. First, that "stoner" has completed classes and passed NC examinations to certify him as an inspector. Chances are, his employer paid for those classes. Second, that $23.75 for labor has to go toward paying for the scanning equipment, which is several thousand dollars, all of the software updates, the actual hourly pay of the inspector, and any lease or mortgage on the physical location. As far as those who say newer cars shouldn't be inspected, I say that NC's safety and emissions standards are keeping people safer, and I have seen many fairly new cars come in with tires that are shot because the owners were expecting to get 30,000 miles out of their low-profile tires.

    As far as a mechanic telling someone he can "get around" emissions testing, that's called clean-scanning, and it's a felony.

  • living the dream Mar 18, 2009

    The main reason DMV when to stickerless is simple. It's all about the money. Stickerless inspections are one more step towards vehicle safety and emissions compliance. The more aggressive the State controls auto emissions, "THE MORE FEDERAL HIGHWAY FUNDS THEY RECEIVE".
    In the words of the late great Paul Harvey.......

  • LocalYokel Mar 18, 2009

    wow, what a progressive government we have here in NC!

  • Ouaouaron Mar 18, 2009

    I wouldn't mind so much if the LEO's would also enforce the standards. Loud pipes, tires that protrude half a foot (or more) from the wheelwell, illegal HD headlight retrofits that blind oncoming drivers, suspensions on "street" vehicles that are at head level of other drivers, the list goes on and on. So if the system is so easy for the dishonest to circumvent, why bother with the rest of us?

    Yes, I smell "mileage check" coming soon. Time to look up how to disconnect the odometer cable.