FLORISSANT, Mo. – A week after the city of St. Charles declared it would begin cracking down on drivers with expired temp tags, the Florissant Police Department is responding to citizens calling on them to do the same.
At the height of the COVID pandemic, the state waived some vehicle registration requirements. St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer believes enough time has passed for local jurisdictions to take action.
“The problem we’re having recently is we’re starting to see a lot of counterfeit temp tags,” the mayor said.
As of June 13, St. Charles police are pulling over any driver found with temp tags on their vehicle. The driver will be ticketed and the expired tag seized and sent to court.
Borgmeyer said by waiving registration requirements, the state created a backlog of expired tags during the pandemic.
In the days following the start of the crackdown, the Florissant Police Department received numerous complaints or calls to go after drivers with temp tags as well. In a Facebook post dated June 17, the department said it wanted residents to know they’ve been ticketing drivers with temp tags for quite some time.
“From 2020-2022 the Florissant Police Department has issued in excess of 13,600 traffic citations for registration/expired temporary tag violations,” the department said in the post. “In addition to the citations issued, we have issued nearly 5,000 additional warnings.”
The Florissant PD statement goes on to say police only confiscate fake or counterfeit temp tags. But why?
“Each temporary tag is specifically registered to the vehicle it is on and in the event that a vehicle is involved in any type of criminal activity or possibly a motor vehicle accident where a vehicle leaves the scene, that temporary tag can still be used to identify the vehicle either by witness testimony, surveillance video, or license plate readers,” the department said.
“As frustrating as this is, we believe for our police department that it makes the most sense not to seize the tag.”
The statement concludes by saying the issue is greater than any one law enforcement agency and must be addressed at the state level.
When you buy a car in Missouri, you receive a set of temp tags, with the expectation being that you’ll go to a Department of Revenue office or the DMV within the next 30 days to pay the sales tax and receive your license plates. However, some drivers opt to ride with expired temp tags because the sales tax is too expensive to pay at one time.
For instance, a car that costs $10,000 in the city would be $1,000 in sales tax, which can be a lot for many. Compare that to a $100 or $200 ticket for driving with temp tags, and you can see why some people would take their chances.
But last June, Governor Mike Parson signed into law a measure that will eventually spell the end of temporary tags in the state. The new law requires car dealers to add the sales tax at the point of sale, meaning buyers will pay the tax over the life of their car loan.