Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | October 2, 2010

New Jersey inspections and license plates

When we moved here, we had to have our car inspection. We’re used to the dreaded smog inspection in California, but here we had to make sure our whole car worked!

After waiting in line for 30 minutes,  here’s how the conversation went:

Inspector: Please give me your driver’s license and insurance card.

(I hand them over)

Inspector: I said I need your insurance card.

Me: That’s my insurance card

Inspector: That’s not an insurance card.

Me: It’s an insurance card from California.

Inspector: I need an insurance card from New Jersey.

Me: I’m waiting for it to come in the mail.

Inspector:  You can’t have an inspection until you have New Jersey insurance.

So I went back a few days later and got my car inspected. Luckily for new residents, they only have to get a smog check now, after a change in the law late July. Apparently the savings runs a whopping $3.24 per car. According to one newspaper columnist, police roadblocks are now the primary form of safety inspection. If they find that you have a crack in your windshield or burned out bulb in your blinker, you’ll get a ticket on the spot. It baffles me that police would set up a roadblock so they can check the safety of a car.

Last week, the newspaper featured a state resident who got a ticket because his license plate was partly covered by the decorative Rutgers frame. By partly covered, I mean that the word New Jersey was partly eclipsed by the metal frame.

When we first got our plates, we planned to buy metal frames because it looks kind of tacky to just have the plate on there. But all the standard plates cover part of the license plate – the plate goes almost to the edge with words. So we never got one.  We didn’t realize you could get a ticket for putting  a standard frame on a Garden State plate.

Whatta you know?


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