BY DAVID PERRYMAN
“Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.”
For the better part of 30 years, Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday in Dragnet brought realistic law enforcement first to radio and later to television with each and every episode beginning with a similar trademark statement.
Dragnet trail-blazed this genre and was joined by other similar series such as Broderick Crawford’s Highway Patrol and Erik Estrada’s CHiPs. Mostly set in California, these shows had one thing in common: every time a vehicle was pulled over, the driver was required to produce vehicle registration papers, commonly called “pink slips.”
The popular slang term became widely known and the phrase “pink slip” also spread through movies like Grease, depicting the illegal street races of the 1950s in which the winner won the pink slip of the loser’s car, referring to this as “racing for pinks.”
Although California vehicle titles and registration certificates stopped being printed on pink paper in 1988, they are still referred to as pink slips and operators of vehicles are still required to carry them when operating a motor vehicle.
Prior to July 1, Oklahoma owners of non-commercial vehicles with standard issued tags were not required to carry a registration certificate; however, owners of commercial vehicles and vehicles that display custom or vanity tags have long been required to produce a registration certificate when a traffic contact is made with law enforcement.
Effective July 1, all Oklahomans operating any motor vehicle on any public roadway must either “have in their possession” or “carry in the vehicle” a registration certificate [not a Certificate of Title] and must exhibit it upon demand to any peace officer of the state or employees of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
A number of law enforcement agencies, including a spokesman for the Tulsa Police Department, has stated that that the law change does not include a penalty so there will be no citations issued for failing to have a certificate of registration; however, that part of the bill codified as 47 O.S. Section 1113(D) does clearly state that an officer may seize and hold the vehicle when the operator does not have the registration certificate in the operator’s possession or when the officer determines that the registration certificate has been obtained by misrepresentation or has been altered.
While I did not support the bill when it was adopted in 2018, SB 1339 passed in a bipartisan manner based upon the request of the Oklahoma Tax Commission which claimed that it was needed to facilitate Oklahoma becoming the 43rdstate where car tags are retained by the seller of a vehicle and used on the seller’s replacement vehicle.
According to the state officials, many former owners of vehicles have incorrectly received citations or been at risk of receiving citations because the new owner of the vehicle failed to properly and timely register the vehicle. Toll and parking violations and sometimes accidents have been blamed on former owners months after a vehicle was sold because the tag remained with the vehicle and the Oklahoma Tax Commission was never notified of the transfer of the vehicle.
This problem may be solved by this new law. Also, purchasers of replacement vehicles will be allowed to immediately put the old tag on the new vehicle and only be required to pay the difference between the registration fee on the old vehicle and the registration fee on the new vehicle until the anniversary date of the tag’s expiration.
If you are unable to locate your latest registration certificate, replacements may be obtained from the Oklahoma Tax Commission or your local tag office.
– Chickasha Democrat David Perryman represents District 56 in the Oklahoma House and serves as minority floor leader