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New York State rolling in reverse on mandatory license plate changes

NYS Shifting gears on license plate changes
Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-11 17:51:29-04

WKBW — You may have seen or voted on one of the new New York State license plate designs over the past couple of weeks. Now, however, the state is rolling in reverse on plans to require drivers to replace plates that are 10 years or older.

Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared on WAMC Radio Friday, pumping the brakes on his plan.

"I don't want anyone to have to replace the plate if the plate is in fine condition," Cumo said.

The new license plate, that won the DMV contest, may not be mandatory. He'd consider letting people keep their current plates as long as they're in good condition.

"We have to find a way to inspect a license plate to determine whether or not it has to be replaced," Cuomo said.

It's a political pivot that Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns said he's okay with.

"We should not have to pay for a new plate if your plate is in good condition," Kearns said. "Currently today if someone has a peeling plate and wants to come into one of the auto bureaus we exchange the plate at no cost."

Currently license plate conditions are not part of mandatory state inspections. Governor Cuomo did not specify how an inspection would be implemented, but said he's open to possibilities.

Kearns said he doesn't think an inspection for plates would be necessary.

"I don't think there's much of an inspection, it's either a good plate or the plate is peeling," he said.

Erin Smith, the Manager at Towne Motor Car in Buffalo, said how long a driver has their plates doesn't necessarily mean much.

"There are older white plates out there that are in pristine condition," Smith said.

He said the Western New York winters with their snow and salt take a tough toll on license plates, but if you take proper care of your car then you should have no problem.

"If you wash your car, took it a Delta Sonic more frequently, your license plate would hold up a whole lot better than if you just left it on your car and let the elements do its thing," Smith said.

Smith then showed a mint condition older white and blue plate, and a completely peeled newer yellow and blue paint he removed from a car that morning.