Thursday, June 16

The Vehicle Registration Card

Hey DMV! I don't get it. What is the purpose of the Vehicle Registration Card?

I can't speak for what goes on in other states, so this is only based on what I know as New Jersey licensed driver, with a car I purchased, registered, and insured here in the great Garden State.

As long as everything is on the up and up, then I can go about my day in my car with relatively little stress, right? INSPECTION + INSURANCE + REGISTRATION + DRIVER'S LICENSE.

So, INSPECTION sticker is on the car.

INSURANCE Card is in the glove compartment.

And as for the DRIVER'S LICENSE and REGISTRATION card, I keep both in my wallet.

[I know most people just keep the registration card with the insurance card in the glove compartment, but I found that after having had a car stolen in the past, all of the info useful to the cops -- like plate & VIN #'s -- is better off in my wallet than inside the stolen car. However, it can be a nuisance when you lend out your car to someone and forget to pass along the registration card. Side note, also a pain in the ass if you ever lose the stupid thing when you're leasing a car... because you have to get a POWER OF ATTORNEY from the leasing company to take to the DMV to get a replacement card,..... Now, imagine all the days of waiting to get this done, with the threat of a $176 ticket looming over you while driving. STRESSFUL to say the least!!]

And all this made me start to think.... WHY THE HECK DO WE EVEN NEED A REGISTRATION CARD?

And what is UP with that ridiculous penalty for not having the card on you?

Here are my many random thoughts on this topic:

* * Your LICENSE PLATE. Before you get pulled over, haven't the cops already looked you up on their handy in-dash laptop? Which tells them a bunch of stuff about the car, who owns it, who it's registered to, and likely who is probably behind the wheel. And if they can see who the car is registered to just from the info on your tags... then can't they also tell whether or not your registration is current? And if you've borrowed someone's car, wouldn't this just make everyone's lives a little bit easier not having to dig around to find their registration card?

* * Take a look at your registration card.... your driver's license # is on it. Which means your car registration is linked to your driver's license. Which means if you hand over your driver's license (and pretty soon, a super fancy digital driver's license at that) - that should also say what cars are registered to you (and again, whether or not your registration is current, right?)

* * Your car's license tags are metal with numbers embossed. Inspection stickers have serial numbers on them, are a pain in the ass to scrape off yourself, and are affixed right on your car. Your driver's license is digitized, has your photo on it, and is strong like credit card. But yet, he registration card is a flimsy piece of laminated paper with a barcode on it. Hmm. Something says, "Not as important" on the Motor Vehicle Food Chain.

* * Um, HELLO. Your name, address, birthdate, and even your SS#. Any combo of the previous four pieces of info entered into an MVC computer will pull up info about YOU... including YOUR PICTURE.... And... gonna make a leap here... I'm guessing also info on all the vehicles you're affiliated with, the license plate #'s of those vehicles, and whether or not these vehicles are registered. And that's assuming you're naked without clothes, pockets, a purse, a wallet, or any other identifying information! Seriously. What if you are driving stark naked? Where the hell are you supposed to stuff all these things???

OK, so that's my very sensible reasoning for giving your flimsy Registration Card the ol' boot.

(Just don't get me started about what to do with the even flimsier, non-laminated Insurance Card... because obviously you can't get a new registration card without current insurance anyhow! )


  1. Just got the new NJ Registration card - it's not even laminated or cut to the right size to fit in a wallet (its the size a letter envelope). I paid the extra $5 for a wallet copy and it looks like a copy from my inkjet printer.

    That will be the last time, NJ finds yet another way to lose revenue by being penny-wise and pound foolish.

  2. Just got my NJ Registration in the mail. Crappy quality. Not laminated, not die-cut (so you could tear-it down to wallet size). I was quite surprised. after a little work with a scissors and adding some packing tape on top, I've got a wallet-sized card. But why is this a 'do it yourself' project ? Why can't NJDMV send us a properly sized, durable document ?

  3. I paid extra to have my registration renewed on line, $46.0 Plus $2.50 convenience fee. They conveniently forgot to laminate it and Die-punch it. The funny thing is last year I paid the same price for laminate and punching. My inkjet printer has better quality that this.I am totally pissed off. Is not convenient for me to waste time cutting this out my self. Even a dollar made by the government is worth only a dollar but the ink quality and the longevity is better than a 48.50 piece of paper that is only good for one year.

  4. Same thing just happened to me. Got the letter to find in it this crappy peace of paper. I rushed to the computer to understand what's up and I found this page. It made me smile to see that I'm not alone feeling totally robbed by the system.

  5. Got this in response to an email I sent to NJ MVC:

    Thank you for your e-mail inquiry. The equipment used by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to laminate and perforate bulk mail was extremely antiquated and is no longer manufactured. Due to this development, the registration documents are not being laminated or perforated. Please note that other than this change, the physical design of the card, visual layout and information contained on it remains the same. You may either leave the card on the full sheet or cut it out for your convenience.
    The MVC is currently in the process of upgrading all of our systems and equipment to better serve the motoring public. We will also be introducing new technology in the near future that will eventually affect the printing and design of the registration card.

    MVC Customer Advocacy Office

  6. You need a license, registration, insurance card, inspection sticker, front license plate, and rear license plate to operate a car in NJ. If you do not maintain these 6 pieces of physical identification concurrently you will be fined. And the police basically can access all this electronically.

    NJ MVC can decide to stop perforating registration card because of costs but then start printing more expensive 4 color inspection stickers with slogans and pictures on the back like 'Fight Terrorism' (with a picture of a State Police hat) and 'Stop Idling' (with a picture of a delivery truck).

    I get in my car every day and look at the slogan 'Fight Terrorism'. How do I do that? Might as well say 'Eat Vegetables'. WTF?

    And I just took scissors to my un-perforated registration card. They don't even print a dashed cut line. WTF?

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