Driving with temporary paper dealer plates in California becomes illegal Jan 1

A gray, extended cab Dodge Ram pickup – that’s all the information law enforcement had to find a truck believed to belong to the suspect involved in the death of Newman police corporal Ronil Singh.

There was no license plate. Just a paper dealer plate that said, “AR Auto” according to the California Highway Patrol.

Come January 1, having that type of plate is against the law.

The Temporary License Plate at Point of Sale Law requires dealerships to provide temporary plates that have information on it that’s linked to a DMV database that identifies the buyer and car.

The goal is to catch drivers breaking the law.

“Law enforcement agencies will be better able to solve crimes since they will have access to information that was previously unavailable,” said assembly speaker pro tem Kevin Mullin in a YouTube video about the law.

Hayward’s Bay Area Motors has been preparing for the change for months. “We would print a temporary plate that would be for that vehicle it would have no logos just the identification number and that would expire,” said Manager Emran Baber.

When it expires, you have to attach permanent plates. The hope of the new law is to also catch toll evaders, something Baber knows all about. “We get the toll evasions. Fast Track will send us all their tickets, ‘Hey this is your car with your dealer plate on it?’”

Baber said people stop by his dealership to ask for paper plates and some even rip them off cars on the lot. Bay Area Motors is on board with the new law. Baber said most importantly it’ll help solve crimes, like Wednesday morning’s shooting.

“The officer…rest in peace…that wouldn’t happen anymore,” he said. “If you find someone driving around with dealer plates that’s a reason for police to pull them over now.”