New safety-focused law changes license plates

State

DMVs in some counties are not able to complete motor vehicle transactions or issue drive licenses.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A new Colorado law aims to improve safety for first responders and motorists by ensuring drivers have reflective and legible license plates.

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles will implement the License Plate Expiration on Change of Ownership Act, which establishes the Centennial State’s first license plate replacement program in over 20 years.

License plates for Class C motor vehicles will expire upon transfer of the owner’s title or interest in the vehicle. The owner will retain the priority right to use the same combination of letters or numbers from the expired plates when registering a new vehicle, requiring the owner to apply for personalized plates. New plates will then be printed and mailed to the vehicle owner like newly issued license plates. 

Class C motor vehicles include passenger vehicles, motorhomes and motorcycles. This program will enhance public safety by ensuring registered vehicles in Colorado have serviceable license plates that are reflective and visible in low-light environments. Also, all motorists will benefit as license plates are often the only highly reflective element on vehicles, which is critically important for motorists to see a stalled vehicle on the roadside during low-light periods. 

The program will also raise registration costs, with the additional replacement expense standing at $4.73. Coloradans who would like to keep the configuration on their current license plate will need to pay a one-time replacement fee ranging between $68.06 and $118.06, depending on the license plate. This is in addition to the normally collected registration fees.

Historical license plates, such as the “green-mountains, white-sky license plate,” are available and will be $118.06. For more information about the program including a breakdown of the new fees, click here.

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