MILWAUKEE — Vehicles with hard-to-see temporary plates in the back of windows or no plates at all make it virtually impossible for police to know if the car is legal. Officers say these issues are not new to them.
But during the pandemic, officers could not cite unregistered drivers due to the state of emergency declaration. But on Saturday that all ends.
City leaders want to get the message out now that officers will be issuing citations for no registration, expired plates, plates in windows, or no plates at all.
In a statement, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson and Alderman Michael J. Murphy said that "this has allowed motorists to drive with unregistered vehicles without worry of penalty has negatively impacted our ability to curb reckless driving behavior in the city."
In 2019, MPD issued more than 3,800 citations to unregistered vehicles. It also issued 227 tickets for failure to display.
In 2020, before the moratorium, MPD issued nearly 1,600 tickets for unregistered vehicles and 147 tickets for failure to display.
But some drivers worry about the financial impact. To register a vehicle, it costs $85 in Wisconsin.
We made contact with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation about costs. In response, they say they offer payment plans to make sure your paperwork is valid, while at the same time not charging drivers all at once.
The state of emergency will come to an end Friday, and Johnson and Murphy are calling on Milwaukee Police Department to issue citations for those who continue to operate unregistered vehicles in order to curb reckless driving.
According to the statement, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office recorded the highest ever number of motor vehicle accident deaths in 2020.