Colorado temporary tag bill advances

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A Colorado bill targeting abuses of the use of temporary tags on trucks recently passed the state’s Senate Transportation Committee. The measure, HB 1020, was brought forward by the Colorado Motor Carriers Association and is intended to curb what the association describes as an increasing problem related to individuals and companies who actively avoid registering their trucks and obtaining a permanent license plate.

Companies and individuals do this to evade paying registration fees and specific ownership taxes, and also to escape the scrutiny of state regulatory and safety officials, CMCA says. These individuals continue to obtain temporary license plates by either transferring the vehicle to other family members and/or seeking a new temporary plate in another county, according to the association; this shell game translates into a major loss of revenue to the state as well as local governments.

Probably of greater concern than lost revenue is the issue of safety, CMCA says; until a vehicle is officially registered, it does not appear on any of the state or federal safety databases. “We believe that some companies and officials have actively sought to use the loophole because they are operating unsafe equipment or utilizing unqualified drivers and in turn wish to avoid being included in these safety databases,” the association says.

HB 1020 would limit the number of temporary plates provided for a particular vehicle to two for any year; this would prevent an owner from continuing to shift the vehicle to other jurisdictions or transferring the vehicle to other family members for the sole purpose of abusing the system. The bill — which now moves to Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration — also would have the state establish a tracking system for temporary plates issued to trucks weighing 16,000 pounds or more.