Carpetbagging Drivers Head to North Carolina for Plates
On his frequent runs and bike rides around his Jackson Heights neighborhood and nearby Corona and Elmhurst, Will Sweeney recently started noticing something strange: a lot of license plates from North Carolina. Sweeney writes:
Two weekends ago, I decided to take an informal and unscientific survey of license plates in these three neighborhoods. I found that after New York, the most common plates are North Carolina or Pennsylvania. I considered that PA was relatively close and that possibly motorists were just visiting for a few days. But North Carolina is a long haul from NYC. Last Friday, I did the experiment again. This time I counted. 192 NC plates, 97 PA plates, 43 NJ plates, 21 Ohio plates, 12 CT plates and a few other random states in the single digits.
A little more research confirmed Sweeney's suspicion that all those cars didn't belong to tourists from Greensboro and Fayetteville.
Turns out that so many drivers from our area are going down south to fraudulently obtain North Carolina plates that legislators in that state have introduced legislation to make the practice a felony. Reports Raleigh TV station WRAL:
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Long said motorists flock to North Carolina from expensive insurance states, such as New Jersey and New York. They give fake local addresses and get cheaper insurance and tags.
"They're coming down here literally by the bus load," Long said....
Investigators want the state Division of Motor Vehicles and insurance agents to improve how they verify where people live.
"The goal in all this is to protect the rates being charged to North Carolina drivers by keeping those from other states from buying insurance down here, then going back up north and having wrecks and costing all of us," Long said.
Sweeney notes that better enforcement in North Carolina would have a beneficial effect on New Yorkers as well. "A very effective way to re-claim our streets from cars is to make sure that all illegal cars are off the streets," he writes. "I think that if the city and state enforced the insurance and registration laws of the city, we could tremendously decrease the number of vehicles on the streets. And the revenues from fines and traffic tickets would actually be paid!"