Drivers register in Nevada to avoid fee |

Drivers register in Nevada to avoid fee

William Ferchland

Cash-strapped South Lake Tahoe receives $1.3 million in vehicle registration fees. That’s why the city believes it’s important for authorities to watch for California residents who can obtain a Nevada registration in the city with a post office box.

The issue was recently raised during a city council meeting. Councilman Tom Davis said he’s been approached several times by people complaining that their California neighbor has Nevada license plates.

Even though the Department of Motor Vehicles can’t keep track of those numbers, Davis believes the tripling of the registration fees approved by California Gov. Gray Davis could sway people.

“I think tripling the vehicle license fee is going to drive a lot of people to get a P.O. box in Nevada and live in California,” he said. “It’s a fairness issue for us.”

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Sean Patton said officers routinely check for cars persistently in California driveways with out-of-state plates. Most times, drivers who are pulled over for a traffic violation with Nevada plates don’t know they are violating the law.

“Tahoe is unique because it is a very transient community,” Patton said. “You have people flopping back and forth (of the state border).”

South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Martin Hewlett said city officers will also step up their efforts to crack-down on violators.

A person has 10 days in California to change his or her registration after moving; in Nevada, it’s 30 days.

Those who fail to change their registration could be fined.