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Replacement plan for North Carolina license plates begins with new year

Millions of North Carolina motor vehicles will soon be getting a freshen-up when it comes to their license plates.

Starting with the new year, any regular plate that’s at least seven years old on the vehicle’s registration renewal date will be replaced, according to the state Division of Motor Vehicles. This will result in an estimated 2.4 million plates being subbed out during 2021, DMV says.

Another half-million similarly aged specialty and vanity plates will be changed out in 2022, when these plates become subject to the automatic replacement.

The schedule is designed to carry out a 2019 law creating a replacement mandate. Plates faded by time and the elements are difficult for police and machines to read.

Replacement plates will be free to vehicle owners, and those who wish to keep their current plate number can do so if they request the duplicate by mail or at a license plate office, according to DMV. Duplicate plates will be digitally produced and not have embossed, or raised lettering.

While vehicle owners are directed to return their discontinued plates to local plate offices, there is no penalty for failing to do so.

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