Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Help a confused european: do you guys not have a car registration system, wherein when you sell a car the buyer has to go and register himself as the new owner before he gets registration plates and can drive the car?

How could the city not know who the owner of the car is?

Over here photo tickets follow a simple rule: if it's your car, it's your responsibility to know who's driving it. When you get a ticket, you either name the driver, or you pay it yourself. But I haven't heard of anyone getting a ticket for someone else's car.




> How could the city not know who the owner of the car is?

Because frankly the city doesn't care about change of ownership. Many cities (probably most in California, and SF for sure) are totally disconnected from helping citizens. They really neither interested, nor in business of helping you out. They BELIEVE you did something wrong and that's enough. Most of the time they are right and that's enough of a fuel for a SF budget committee not to allocate budget to helping few citizens out of majority to "make it right" for them.

An interesting story from an App that made it simple to fight wrong tickets. Who would have thought that SF would give you wrong ticket or that they would be in wrong generally? You not supposed to be well-informed either. At the end, they got frustrated by all people who lawfully and willingly were submitting claims via Fax and just simply... unplug their fax machine!

When Fixed began faxing its submissions to SFMTA last year, the agency emailed the startup to stop using their fax machine. When Fixed pointed out that it was legal to do so, the agency simply shut off their fax.

https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/12/fixed-the-app-that-fixes-y...


>Because frankly the city doesn't care about change of ownership. Many cities (probably most in California, and SF for sure) are totally disconnected from helping citizens.

Eh, Boston isn't in California but from what I gather most of the populace has contracted whatever California has so it may as well be.


Wow! Can we at least have an app that pays the fine using pennies?


There are two parts to it. The seller notifies the state that they have sold the car, and the buyer has to register with the state that they bought the car. Taxes are due when the buyer registers with the state, so guess which part doesn't get done as often?

If the seller forgets to send in the sell notification and the buyer flakes out on registering the only person they know to pursue is the seller. Hopefully the seller has a signed bill of sale so they can point the finger further down the ownership chain.


All of that assume there are plates on the car. If the seller left his plates on the car, well, that was a mistake. If you sell a car private-party, you should take the plates off. It's on the buyer to ensure the car is properly tagged. Most states off short-term tags for just this reason (transporting newly purchased cars that haven't had registration updated).


>If the seller left his plates on the car, well, that was a mistake.

That's not always the case. In some states the plates are "owned" by the vehicle, not a person and are transferred with the vehicle on sale.


In California the plates stay with the car, not the owner. Other states are different.


I did not know that. That seems like a terrible idea for exactly the reason we're discussing this. Does CA have a web site available where a seller can relinquish ownership? If not, it seems the time between the actual sale and one or other of the seller or buyer going to the DMV would have the car in legal limbo wrt ownership.


It is indeed a terrible idea to have thhe plates follow the car. There is a website, but it only updates the DMV database in a timely, the database the city police / courts use can be > 6 months out of date.


In Indiana, the plates stay with the owner. Yet you can relignquish ownership of a vehicle either in the office or online. I'd not be surprised to find out that other states have a similar option.


You usually need to show up in person to register a vehicle. If you intend to buy a car and drive it to a different state then you may not be able to register it in the origin state because most state stipulate that you can't register a vehicle if you do not reside there or have an address there (otherwise people in small shitty states would drive a couple hours to an adjacent state to save a few hundred on tax/registration/insurance). Registering it in the destination state would be similarly impossible without the title/bill of sale in hand and some states require an inspection prior to registration. Inspections stations need to be licensed. This means it's in some cases impossible to legally buy and drive a car bought private party because you can't register it where you buy it and you need have the car inspected before registering it where you're bringing it.

Depending on the states in question the fine for invalid registration is usually much less than the cost of having the unregistered vehicle towed from A to B so many people just slap an old plate on the back and cross their fingers.


Are there no exceptions for driving directly to a closest inspection place? In canton of Zurich, this is the AFAIK only case when you can drive without license plates (if you want to register your car and the DMV wants to inspect it, you can drive it plateless to DMV).


Most states in the mid-Atlantic region will issue 24-hour or 7-day temp tags for just this purpose (transport a new-to-buyer car from out-of-state).


Yes we do. But 50 states, 50 different motor vehicle bureaus. Not to mention D.C. Plus Puerto Rico etc.

Some states have an excellent DMV. Others suck. It depends.


No states have excellent DMVs (or BMVs, or IDS) some states just have worse ones than others.


You've used the DMV in all 50 states?


The BMV near me has been nothing but cheerful and helpful and I've done a few transactions that are off the beaten path. Wait times are usually 0-40min and it's in a strip mall so you can do your shopping while you wait. I do live in the middle of nowhere by SV standard though.


I've had a DL in 7 states so far. Yes some were good. Your mileage may vary though.


DMV in New Hampshire is fine. It wasn't until I got to Silly Valley that I learned that what they eventually showed in Zootopia is true.

Part of it is just due to population density. They need to increase the number of DMVs by about 10 to get a reasonable distribution for the population.


Wrong. Also, in NY, there is a state DMV, 57 county DMVs, and the NYC DMV. County DMV offices are run by their respective county clerks, though they do tie into the state computer systems. Many of them are fantastic.


I've had a pretty good experience with the DMV in TN. I know others who haven't, but I have.


Yes. But, it's not uncommon (though not a good idea) to sell a car with the plates on, so the buyer doesn't have to go to the DMV before purchase.


I think it is uncommon, if not rare. It's a terrible idea, and depending on the location and circumstances may be illegal.


> When you get a ticket, you either name the driver, or you pay it yourself. But I haven't heard of anyone getting a ticket for someone else's car.

Or you pay a fine for not naming the driver. Which makes sense, because if you're unaware who was driving (or not willing to say), why should you be punished for speeding/running a red light, as opposed to not naming the driver.


I would imagine in the US, the fifth amendment would protect you from having to name the driver.


It varies from state to state. You typically have some type of title document. When you sell your car, you sign the back with the sale value. You have to do this very carefully because if you sign the wrong part or screw something up, you have to go to the county clerk, sign an affidavit and pay for a new title that you can then sign over properly.

Some states require that the title be notarized (signed and sealed in front of a notary public who verifies your identity) which can be done at a bank at transfer time.

In both cases, the buyer is responsible for registering the car (at which time they'll pay sales tax on it. The seller will usually print and fill out a bill of sale. It's best to get this notarized too along with the title).

Unless you fill out one of the forms mentioned in the comments, the car will still be listed as belonging to you until the buyer registers it.


Not everyone complies with registrations. Compliance is especially low amongst the poor, ethnic minorities in large cities, and the wealthy elite in California.


Hey, sorry to be off-topic, but your post does not have a downvote button for me. The rest do, and I do not want to downvote you, but I am curious as to the 'why not?'.


older than 24 hours, the others aren't.


I am going to chance another downvote to say: Thanks for the clarification.


I don't disagree, but why would a non-poor ethnic minority be less likely to follow the law?


Or a non-ethnic minority poor... my best guess would be some cultural distrust of government?


In California, the license plates stay with the car, and as people mentioned, there's a system to notify the DMV of ownership changes. Also, when you buy a new car, of course you have to register with the DMV and they mail you the new license plates... which takes the usual 6-8 weeks or whatever. In the meantime, you just drive the car around with no license plates.


> buyer has to go and register himself as the new owner

As you've described it, you're depending on the buyer doing the right thing.


I didn't realise he sold the car with his old registration plates still on. That seems silly.


How is it silly? That's normal, in my experience; the plates transfer with the car. Do you live in a place where one must obtain new plates immediately after purchasing a car?


> That's normal, in my experience; the plates transfer with the car.

What? No they do not. The plates stay with the person not the car. You can transfer the plates from car to car as well.

> Do you live in a place where one must obtain new plates immediately after purchasing a car?

Where do you live that you don't????

Are you sure that in your state plates transfer with the car? What state is that, because I would like to look that up.


That's not true in California, at least. Plates stay with the car unless they're vanity plates.


This is the part that confused me the most. Why wouldn't they just make the new owner get new plates? It's completely trivial.


Apparently you are not allowed to (supposed to?) keep the plates in CA. At first, I thought the new owner was using the plates illegally.


Costs some $


And it costs the seller money to get new plates for his new car. Somebody in the transaction will have to buy new plates.


Different states have different laws:

http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/transfer-of-plates/


They do in California.


Presumably that simple rule has some kind of exception for when your car is stolen?




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: