With the end of a grace period for expired vehicle registrations, motorists who waited are discovering they now owe late fees.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles provided the grace period for motorists who had vehicle registrations expiring’ between March 12 and Sept. 13. DMV offices were shut down for three months and reopened with reduced operations.
Now, with the extension having ended Sept. 13, those who failed to take care of their registrations during that time are finding they’re being charged late fees.
“My husband waited three hours in line at the Pahrump DMV to register our vehicle as the extension applied for online was expiring September 13 2020,” said Karen Berger in an email to the Road Warrior. “My husband is a senior 74 (who) waited three hours and had all the paperwork, along with two copies of the completed extension form from the DMV Website filled in correctly. The DMV clerk charged 2 late registration fees totaling $24, when my husband said this was incorrect the clerk said you are late and fees apply.”
DMV spokesman Kevin Malone said the agency is charging late fees on transactions that could have been completed on time, notably most vehicle registration renewals.
He noted that the majority of the over 200,000 expired registrations did not require the driver to make an in-person visit to the DMV and could have been handled online during the pandemic or at various kiosks located around the county.
“There was no interruption in these services,” Malone said. “Additionally, motorists can get a movement permit on an expired registration online through MyDMV or at a DMV office without an appointment. Late fees are not charged for the period the movement permit is in effect.”
Berger took issue with the charges because she said the DMV website did not make clear that late fees would be charged after the extension period ended.
“This is a travesty,” Berger wrote. “I have looked on the DMV website and nowhere does it mention that the extension is late and will be charged late fees.”
The DMV is waiving late fees for those who require a visit to a DMV office and have not been able to do so because of the limited number of appointments available.
“There are several types of vehicle registrations that must be renewed in person or by mail,” Malone said. “We are not charging late fees on these transactions.”
Registrations exempt from late fees include classic vehicle exemptions, professional firefighter plates, active-duty military and spouse exemptions and tribal exemptions.
Additionally, the DMV has extended the deadline for expired driver’s licenses and ID cards until Nov. 12, with late fees waived on those transactions until Jan. 31. Drivers 65 and older have one year from expiration of their driver’s license to visit a DMV office to renew.
The DMV also last week launched an online driver’s license renewal program that up to 75,000 motorists with expired licenses or ID cards are eligible to use.
“Enabling drivers to skip the trip to the DMV will not only help them, it will help the DMV serve those who need car registrations or other services much more quickly,” said DMV Director Julie Butler.