RALEIGH, N.C. — Millions of North Carolina drivers will receive new license plates this year.
According to the state Division of Motor Vehicles, any regular plate that is at least seven years old on the vehicle’s registration renewal date will be replaced. That means an estimated 2.4 million plates being subbed out during 2021, the DMV says.
Another half-million similarly aged specialty will be changed out in 2022, when these plates become subject to the automatic replacement.
The new schedule is designed to carry out a 2019 law signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. House Bill 211 states license plates for 1968 and future years are to be completely treated with reflectorized materials designed to increase visibility and legibility at night. Plates faded by time and the elements are difficult for police and machines to read.
Replacement plates will be free to vehicle owners. Those who want to keep their current plate number can do so if they request the duplicate by mail or at a license plate office, according to DMV. Duplicate plates will be digitally produced and not have embossed, or raised lettering.
The Division of Motor Vehicles wants vehicle owners to return their discontinued plates to local plate offices. However, there is no penalty for failing to do so.
North Carolina previously had no time parameters for replacing a license plate.