New law requires copy of vehicle registration to be carried in vehicle

Beginning Jan. 1, 2010 Wyoming law will require a copy of a vehicle's registration to be carried in the vehicle at all times.

The change is among several revisions to the state's vehicle titling and registration laws approved by the 2009 Legislature to improve consistency, clarity and accountability.

The law also will require the renewal tabs issued with a vehicle's annual registration to be displayed and clearly visible in the upper left-hand corner of the license plate.

The tab can't be obscured by a license plate frame or displayed upside down or in another corner of the plate. Previously instructions that came with the tabs directed that they be affixed in upper left-hand corner of the plate, but nothing in the law required it.

Displaying the tab elsewhere makes it harder for law enforcement officers to see, and can create a dangerous situation if officers have to focus on scanning the plate for the tab rather than watching what the driver is doing.

The law requires owners to register their vehicle in Wyoming immediately upon becoming a resident of the state, and the revisions clarify who is considered a resident.

Wyoming residency now begins immediately upon any of the following:

  • Working in the state and owning, renting or leasing a residence here;
  • Registering to vote in the state;
  • Applying for public assistance;
  • Purchasing or holding a valid resident hunting or fishing license;
  • Filing a homestead or military tax exemption on property in the state; or
  • Residing in Wyoming for 120 days, regardless of whether employed in the state.

Workers who expect to be in the state only a few months can obtain a temporary worker registration permit for their vehicles at county treasurer offices for a fee of $50 per month, not to exceed 120 days.

The residency law exempts full-time students at the University of Wyoming or any of the state's community colleges, and defines full-time student is anyone "who attends a post secondary school on a full-time basis as defined by that institution."

Daily commuters from a contiguous state also are exempt, provided their vehicles are currently registered in their state.

For more information, contact Motor Vehicle Services Manager Debbie Lopez at 777-4714.

Veterans, embossed license plates available beginning Jan. 1, 2010

Armed forces veteran license plates and embossed plates approved by the 2009 Wyoming Legislature will become available next year.

Both plates carry a $50 fee in addition to the standard $15 state registration fee and the county registration fee that is calculated based on the vehicle's value.

To be eligible for the veteran plates the vehicle owner must have completed at least one term of honorable service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine.

Applications for the plates will be available beginning Nov. 23 through county treasurer offices, WYDOT's Motor Vehicle Services office and the department's Web site at www.dot.state.wy.us/wydot/titles_plates_registration/specialty_plates.

Once filled out, the application must be submitted to the Wyoming Veterans Commission for confirmation of the applicant's eligibility. WYDOT then will make the plates and ship them to the county treasurer's office in the county in which the vehicle is registered for pickup.

Embossed plates can be ordered for standard, specialty, prestige and University of Wyoming plates, and the applications will be available in December. Application for the plates is made to WYDOT Motor Vehicle Services, but the plates are picked up at county treasurer offices.

Wyoming previously stopped offering embossed plates in 2001, when the Wyoming State Penitentiary shut down its plate manufacturing plant. WYDOT now has a digital flat plate system that doesn't produce embossed plates. The department has contracted with the state of Colorado to produce the new embossed Wyoming plates.

Because the plates will be produced out of state by prison inmates, every set will have to be inspected, resulting in an estimated wait of 10 to 12 weeks for delivery.

The $50 fee for either of the specialty plates must be paid every eight years, when new plates are issued. State law requires WYDOT to issue new license plates every eight years because that is the average life of the reflective materials on the plates.

All specialty license plates in Wyoming must be approved by the Legislature, and there are now 16 categories available.

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