Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation
Illegible License Plate Replacement
Act 133 of 2008 eliminated the requirement for PennDOT
to re-issue registration plates every 10 years. This measure will save the commonwealth approximately $59 million over the next three years. Prior
to the law going into effect, PennDOT was required to replace registration plates every 10 years. The last time registration plates were replaced
was in 1999.
The law now allows for PennDOT to reissue a registration plate upon request of a vehicle owner when an authorized representative of PennDOT or
law enforcement determines that a registration plate is illegible. Effective Jan. 26, 2009, safety inspection mechanics are authorized representatives
of PennDOT and may determine if the registration plate is legible. (NOTE: A registration plate is deemed illegible when one or more numbers or
letters cannot be recognized from 50 feet or if the plate shows any blistering, peeling, discoloration or loss of reflectivity.) To apply for a free
standard registration plate, the vehicle owner should visit any official Pennsylvania inspection station for verification that their plate is illegible
and receive Form MV-46, "Authorization to Replace Registration Plate," from the station OR have a law enforcement official verify the need for a
replacement plate on Form MV-44, "Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement
of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker," obtained from PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website at www.dmv.state.pa.us.
The vehicle owner is then responsible for signing and returning either Form MV-46 or Form MV-44
to PennDOT in order to receive a replacement registration plate, free of charge.