Good Question: Can you get ticketed for a peeling license plate?

July 10, 2018 06:41 AM

This is a follow up to one of our past Good Question reports after many of you reached out to Pat Taney about his story on illegal license plate frames.

This time, you asked about peeling license plates. Why are so many peeling and what happens if yours is?


We did a quick scan of the roadways and found several cars with a New York plate that has a peeling coating. Some drivers say it happened just months after getting them from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"You can't see the words or letters," Robyn Dechau said.

So if you have a plate that's peeling, are you unknowingly breaking the law?

The answer: yes!

"According to New York State law, the numbers and state have to be recognizable at all times on a license plate," Gates Police Officer Lance Duffy said.

"If your plate is bent or it's scraped up, you need to contact the DMV and they will replace the plates," Officer Duffy said.

The DMV will replace that plate at no charge unless you want to keep the same plate number. In that case, it's an additional $20.

It will also cost you if your plate was damaged because of an accident.

So why are the plates peeling? Many drivers suspect poor production. 

The plates are produced by civilian staff and inmates at Auburn Correctional Facility using raw materials purchased from a variety of vendors including 3M. News10NBC reached out to the State Department of Corrections & Community Service (DOCCS) for answers.

We asked if they plan to change anything to make sure the plates last longer. DOCCS spokesperson Thomas Mailey issued the following response:

"DOCCS continuously reviews and evaluates all of its programs for quality and effectiveness. With regards to the Department's license plate program at the Auburn Correctional Facility, DOCCS and its vendor 3M investigated this issue and were not able to replicate the peeling under a variety of conditions. However, we continue to monitor for production issues and if appropriate would implement any necessary upgrades or improvements."

But many drivers say something needs to change now. 

"I don't think I've seen that with any other state before in my life," Dechau said. "I think they're doing something wrong. I don"t know what they're doing, but I think they need to do something different."

If you have a question you'd like Pat to answer, send him an email at


Pat Taney

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