Vehicle inspection stickers disappear, fee remains
Posted March 17, 2009 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2009 7:19 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Vehicle inspection stickers will soon be a thing of the past, although you'll still be paying for them.
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.