ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A new article from the New York Times addresses how St. Charles and other U.S. cities aim to combat concerns around expired temporary license tags.

New York Times reporter Michael Corkery published an article on April 19 titled “Fake Tags Add to Real Chaos on American Roads.”

St. Charles mayor Dan Borgmeyer told the New York Times that “there is a real breakdown in automotive law and order,” when it comes to expired temp tags. His office reportedly received more than 4,000 complaints over expired temp tags last year.

According to the New York Times, “Some of the thousands of photos that the St. Charles mayor received from residents were forwarded to the police. Many cars were just passing through, but when the cars of St. Charles residents were identified, officers went to many of the home addresses associated with a temporary tag and issued a ticket.”

Last August, according to FOX 2 reports, Borgmeyer launched a program in which he encouraged people to take photos of cars with expired temp tags on St. Charles streets and send those photos to his office. He says this push has been better than expected, at least in enforcement around expired temp tags.

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Around that time, the state of Missouri approved a new law that allows auto dealers to collect the sales tax at the point of purchase, and send that money to the state. However, officials say it could take up to two years to implement the law, so temp tags aren’t a thing of the past just yet.

Concerns around expired temp tags have mounted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic four years ago. During the pandemic’s peak, the state of Missouri waived certain vehicle registration requirements. Some area drivers say the result was a logjam of vehicles in Missouri, particularly the St. Louis area, with expired tags.

Until the new law fully takes effect, when you buy a car in Missouri, you receive a set of temp tags, with the expectation being that you’ll go to a Department of Revenue office or the DMV within the next 30 days to pay the sales tax and receive your license plates. However, some drivers may opt to ride with expired temp tags because the sales tax is too expensive to pay at one time.

For instance, a car that costs $10,000 in the city could cost around $1,000 in sales tax. Compare that to a $100 or $200 ticket for driving with expired temp tags, some people may choose to take their chances with expired tags.

Borgmeyer says the program aims to reduce how many people drive with temp tags around St. Charles and offer stronger enforcement on violations.

The New York Times credits Borgmeyer for at least one instance in which he reportedly took action.

“One day, he pulled up behind a car with expired temporary plates and snapped a picture with his phone,” the article reads. “The driver rolled down his window and extended his middle finger. Mr. Borgmeyer sent the photo to the police, but by the time officers followed up, the driver had already started the process of obtaining a proper license plate.”

In addition to St. Charles, the New York Times also reported on efforts to combat temp tags in Portland, New Jersey and Washington D.C.