OKLAHOMA CITY - Changes are right around the corner for Oklahoma drivers thanks to a new law taking effect July 1.
Under Senate Bill 1339, passed and signed into law during the 2018 legislative session, drivers will now keep their tags if they choose to sell a car. Paula Ross with the Oklahoma Tax Commission said it's meant to assist both law enforcement and the public, because it can currently be a hassle to prove a driver no longer owns a vehicle.
"Many people, for instance, they’d sell [a] car and, six months later, they would get bills from the turnpike saying they’ve been through the turnpike and didn’t pay or they would get traffic tickets," Ross said. "Now, once your car goes, your tag will stay with you so there won’t be a marker on that car that shows “you.” That will help citizens across the state and not worry about having somebody else’s traffic fines, somebody else’s parking, somebody’s toll tickets."
However, the new law also requires drivers to keep their registration or an official copy of it in their cars.
"They don’t have to have their title and all the paperwork. They just basically have to have that simple registration sheet," Ross said. "If someone can’t find their registration, they can go to a tag agency and get a copy of that. They can get a copy of it online, so there’s many measures, and they’ve been working on this for months to be ready for July 1."
According to Ross, 42 other states already have similar laws.
The upcoming changes have been praised by some people. Moore resident Bobbie Hotze said she believes it's a good idea.
"You should have some kind of verification that the car is yours, you know, other than just your insurance. I don’t keep my title with me. I keep my title at home, but the registration? Absolutely," Hotze told News 4.
However, some told us that they think the new law is redundant.
"If it shows proof on the back of the tag, I don’t understand you've got to keep the registration," said Oklahoma City resident Shaquille Webster. "If you read the tag, it shows if it’s up to date, who’s the owner of the tag, if it’s stolen."
Many Oklahomans took to social media when the Oklahoma Tax Commission posted a reminder of the change on Facebook. One person commented "1 more piece of identity for thieves to steal!"
Regarding the concerns, Ross said Oklahomans have been required to keep a proof of insurance in their cars for many years.
"That has your information on it, so that is just a portion of the law. Unfortunately, in this society we live in with Google, people can find out where you live very easily, so I do understand always safety concerns," she said. "But, this is something, I think, when they (lawmakers) did the law and looked into to prevent other issues for citizens and they felt like this was one the best safeguards."
News 4 spoke with Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, one of the bill authors, who said they may need to have discussions with the Oklahoma Tax Commission and law enforcement shortly regarding possible penalties for not having a copy of registration in vehicles. He said the bill, as signed, does not specifically list a penalty.
However, if a driver were to a sell a car and did not have another car to place the unexpired tag on, West said they can contact the tax commission for a reimbursement.
For more information, visit tax.ok.gov.