How many times have you either been pulled over by a police officer or been in a fender bender, needed to show your vehicle registration…and couldn’t find it? Maybe you found it, but it was from last year and you could’ve swore you put 2022’s in the same spot? Rest easy, because now you can put aside your paper registration.
Most of the laws that get passed by the State Legislature that we hear about are usually ones that involve taxes, public safety, big spending projects, the high profile stuff. A law passed in 2019 that has flown under the radar has made it easier for drivers to produce their vehicle registration and actually addresses an element of public safety at the same time.
RCW 46. 16A. 180(1) (d)
That RCW requires drivers to present proof of their vehicle registration, which must be carried in the vehicle, when requested by police…that part we all know.
That small letter “d” in the parentheses now allows to present that same vehicle registration electronically. That means you can take a picture of your vehicle registration and save it on your phone, iPad, or any other portable electronic device. Convenience and using available technology are two reasons to move in this direction, but another is public safety.
Say someone breaks into your car and takes everything they can find, including your vehicle registration, you still have a copy on your phone to present to police when you call them to report someone broke into your car. Believe it or not, items like vehicle registration are targets for forgers. This gives you the ability to keep your vehicle registration at home, with other important documents, and carry a photo on your phone to produce when needed.
There is one more change to your vehicle registration coming January 1st of 2023. That is “paper issued registrations [registration] certificates for vehicles or trailers must be printed to allow for the manual removal of a registrant’s address, by the named registered owner, without compromising any required information on the certificate”. This is again to address criminals seeking to steal personal documents and use the information for less than savory reasons.
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