FUMO URGES PENNDOT TO MAKE STICKER SWITCH STATEWIDE
HARRISBURG, October 16, 2000 – Although pleased that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has finally agreed to move vehicle registration stickers from license plates to windows, state Senator Vincent J. Fumo (D-Philadelphia) said today that PennDOT should re-examine its plan to have the change apply only to Philadelphians.
PennDOT is reportedly prepared to announce this week that it will shift the tags of vehicles registered in Philadelphia from the plate to the inside of the back window. Fumo sees several problems with the proposal and believes all vehicles registered in Pennsylvania should carry a window sticker.
Fumo has been urging PennDOT for several years to move the registration sticker from the license plate to another location in order to combat the growing problem of tag theft, which costs state motorists hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Thieves, often people with unregistered or uninsured vehicles, clip the small tag from the corner of the metal plate. Motorists must pay $7.50 to obtain a replacement.
"It’s about time that PennDOT takes action to prevent sticker theft," Fumo says. "I’m happy that it finally decided to address the problem. Unfortunately, there are several flaws in the solution that it proposes."
Fumo favors displaying the sticker in the window of all vehicles in the state.
Although the theft problem is most prevalent in Philadelphia, it is not confined to the city.
"Motorists all over the state need protection," Fumo said.
He noted concerns expressed by some members of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission who studied the proposed regulations. They pointed out that motorists from elsewhere in the state who drive into the city would become more frequent targets of thieves.
"The last thing Philadelphia needs is for more visitors to become crime victims when they enter the city," Fumo said.
He also expressed concerns for city residents, who would be clearly identified as Philadelphians when they drive outside the city.
"Although the vast majority of police officers around the state deal with citizens fairly and honestly, we know from sad experience that a small percentage do not," he said. "I don’t want our residents to become victims of ‘Philadelphia profiling’ when they drive outside the city."
Beginning in 1998, Fumo served on a task force, along with representatives of the State
Police, PennDOT, the insurance industry, the Philadelphia Police Department and others, to look for an answer to sticker theft. PennDOT resisted making any changes until recently.
During PennDOT Secretary Brad Mallory’s appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 29, 2000, Fumo questioned him at length on the subject and pressed him to come up with a plan and a timetable. Mallory contended then that shifting the sticker to the window was not practical. Fumo is pleased that he has apparently reconsidered.
Concerning the decision to place the sticker on the rear window instead of the front windshield, Fumo said he would monitor the situation and seek feedback from police. Depending upon the design of the sticker, tinted rear windows could present difficulty in allowing police a clear view of the sticker. It might turn out that the front windshield near the inspection sticker would be a better spot, he said.
Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo