AAA, Local Law Enforcement Team Up to Replace License Plates

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Motorists wait to have their license plates checked during an event at AAA in Warren on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Photo by Brian Hagberg

WARREN, Pa. – The Warren AAA branch teamed with local law enforcement agencies Thursday to help motorists dealing with peeling license plates.

AAA hosted a “License Plate Legibility” event at its Warren branch. Conewango Township Police officers and Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on hand to inspect license plates and sign the forms motorists need to fill out to get a replacement plate from PennDOT.

One of the peeling license plates that was brought to AAA Warren for a legibility event on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

“AAA has seen in Pennsylvania that there is a need for this,” AAA Warren Branch Manager Kimberly Sealy said. “We see a lot of people coming in getting the (plate replacement) forms from us. And they have to find an officer themselves to get it signed so that they can get the plate. So as a community event, we wanted to make it easier for people.”

In the years following PennDOT’s decision to stop issuing registration renewal stickers, the agency had a run of plates that have been susceptible to peeling and other issues that make the plate illegible.

According to PennDOT, “A registration plate is deemed illegible when one or more numbers or letters cannot be recognized from 50 feet or if the registration plate shows any blistering, peeling, discoloration or loss of reflectivity.”

Conewango Township Police Officer Charlie Andersen goes over PennDOT forms with Lori Swick during a License Plate Legibility event at AAA Warren on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

For law enforcement, holding a legibility event allows officers to check plates and sign the replacement form without having to issue a traffic stop.

“They had a run of plates for a couple of years that are just really bad, and we’re just trying to do it so people aren’t getting pulled over unnecessarily for that,” Conewango Township officer Charlie Andersen said. “It’s an event to help the community out to get these plates taken care of and everything squared away for them without having to be pulled over roadside to do it.”

Sealy said more than 100 people registered for the event, and more were coming who hadn’t registered. According to the records, 35 motorists completed a legibility test in the first hour alone.

“I think the need for this is so great that people don’t really know how to get it done,” Sealy said. “We want to make it quick and easy.”

Members and non-members can stop in at AAA or any law enforcement agency to obtain a plate replacement form. The form must be signed by a law enforcement officer. PennDOT says old plates should be destroyed or returned to PennDOT.

The success of Thursday’s event may encourage future legibility events as well.

“It’s a great turnout,” Andersen said. “I didn’t expect that many (vehicles), honestly. It’s been a great turnout and kind of a fun event.”