CHICAGO (WLS) -- Every year, Illinois residents with license plates usually get a notice in the mail to renew their stickers. But now, that is not happening - and drivers are starting to get tickets for expired stickers.
"He had a ticket on his car because of the expired plate," said Wanda Martin about her husband. "And we weren't aware because we usually get the notices every year, and this year we did not get the notice - and of course, we got a ticket."
Back in September, the Secretary of State reminded drivers that they would no longer get renewal notices in the mail. Maybe you heard about it - but many drivers say they did not.
"Maybe they should have given a longer notice because I didn't know about it until a friend reminded me," said Louis Rodriguez.
"That was the reminder, put it together with my bills and go ahead and pay it, but this time it didn't come," said Blanca Cerda.
So now, plates are expiring. Renewals in November were down 15 percent, and 23 percent in December. And drivers are getting tickets.
"A $100 ticket over a 48 cent stamp - it's kind of disgusting to have to pay this much now," Martin said.
"We understand the frustration of drivers," said Beth Kaufman, spokesperson, Secretary of State.
Kaufman said she understands the postage involved and blames it on Illinois politics.
"Unfortunately, the renewal notices have been suspended due to the budget impasse," she said.
And that saves $450,000 per month, or more than $5 million a year. She says they prefer to save the postage budget for essentials, like mailing stickers, titles and corporate documents. They also encourage drivers to sign up for email renewal notices.
"Today I will. It's the first thing I'm going to do. That way I get a notification," Cerda said.
Beware, so you don't find yourself getting a ticket like the Martins.
"It's unfair to us. It's very unfair to us," Martin said.
The Secretary of State's Office says if you renew online, print out your receipt, and put that receipt on your dashboard, you should not get a ticket.
Of course, your stickers should be put on as soon as possible. Your best bet is to check out your plates now.
If you want to sign up for email notices, visit the Secretary of State's website at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/.
Tickets for expired plate stickers on the rise amid stop in mailed notices
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