The downside of sticker-less registration

In January 2013, the NSW government abolished registration for light vehicles, effectively 97% of vehicles then registered in NSW. Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) would save $575,000 a year spent on printing and posting them. Next Victoria abolished stickers in January 2014 and Queensland recently followed suit.

No stickers

Not all drivers are happy with the sticker-less system. These drivers ely on registration stickers on their windscreen to remind them when their registration falls due.

In late 2015 in Victoria, 768 drivers were unfairly penalised for driving unregistered vehicles. It was because of a system error which meant they didn’t receive reminder letters. Some Queensland motorists complained about late arrival of registration reminder notices, because they unknowingly drove unregistered.

Unfortunately, not knowing you are unregistered is not a valid excuse.

Even if you have borrowed a car or are driving a company car, it is your responsibility to check registration status before driving. RMS said NSW motorists receive reminders in the post 6 weeks before registration is due.

Change of address is no excuse. You need to notify RMS within 14 days if you have changed your name or address and apply for a new address sticker for your drivers licence.

Fines for no rego

The number of fines for drivers of unregistered vehicles rose immediately after registration stickers were first abolished. Some say removing stickers was just a revenue raising exercise. But officials claim the rise in unregistered offences is simply because there are more ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras used to spot unregistered vehicles.

Main Roads spokesman, Mr Mahon, said in late 2015 the number of people caught driving unregistered vehicles in Queensland had barely changed from 4,000 people a month since stickers were removed.

Drivers caught unregistered in NSW are currently fined twice. $637 for using an unregistered vehicle and another $637 for using an uninsured vehicle. This is $1,274 – double the average cost of a green slip. The police can also remove your number plates on the spot or even seize the vehicle.

If you have a tendency to forget when registration is due – even after an RMS letter – sign up for our registration reminder stickers. It won’t cost you anything for a sticker, but could cost you a packet if you are caught driving unregistered.

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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