NJMVC: NJ Paper New Vehicle "Ghost Tags" To Be Discontinued

2DUM2NO Vanity License Plate

Photo: Chris Collins / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The infamous New Jersey "ghost tag" is being retired. We know it as the temporary tag issued when we purchase a new or used vehicle and are waiting for the processing to be completed by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Apparently, the present temporary "ghost tag" has been easy to copy or counterfeit and used for evading tolls and other deviant laps of good judgement.

MVB officials announced Monday (July 1st) they will begin to roll out new temporary tags that will have a different look, printed on enhanced paper that is processed with enhanced security features for the purpose of preventing forgery or duplication according to MVC spokesman William Connolly. The upgrade is the outcome of a new state law issued by Governor Murphy in January, whereby, tightening up regulations on temporary tags issued by the dealerships. The law increases fines for dealers who sell fraudulent "ghost tags" and drivers that use them to evade tolls and drive unregistered vehicles. Toll officials have been feeling the sting because of counterfeit tags being sold on line in the bi-state area primarily for use in deception and avoid paying tolls at Port Authority and MTA bridges and tunnels. In 2022, the MTA announced a crackdown on fake and obscured license plates used by toll cheats.

In 2023, the MTA and police impounded 143 vehicles owing $3.2 million in tolls and fines during multiple enforcement checkpoints at the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, where many impounded vehicles had paper tags from New Jersey. Port Authority officials have conducted similar crackdowns on toll evaders, to the tune of $25 million in back tolls and fees owed in 2023. Police issued 5,861 toll evasion -related summonses, including 4,446 summonses to drivers with obstructed, missing or fictitious license plates.

During May 2023 Transportation budget hearings, lawmakers state Motor Vehicle Commission officials after a previous investigation revealed that paper "temporary" tags could be purchased online from some New Jersey dealers online without purchasing a vehicle from them. Another facet of the new law will take effect in 2025 establishing a vehicle registry for dealers to share with the MVB to document motor vehicle sales and temporary tags for said vehicles sold. Who knew there was this whole other "side hustle" in the automotive industry. Greed takes a hit with old fashioned ghost tags. The new enhanced tags will be distributed throughout beginning this summer.

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