MVD to place emissions test notices back on registration postcards

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division is abandoning its new, problematic emissions test notification letters following widespread problems that caused thousands of Bernalillo County drivers to have their car registrations suspended.

Starting this week, MVD says it will once again start placing emissions test reminders on car registration postcards. The first batch of the new registration postcards should go out on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. With the newly revitalized postcard reminder, MVD says it will stop sending the emissions notification letters and emails.

MVD has been sending those separate emissions test notification letters and emails for the last six months. The division quietly removed emissions test reminders from car registration postcards in September 2016, hoping the new letters would give drivers a more accurate reminder, 30 days ahead of when the emissions test expired.

However, many drivers received no emissions notice from MVD. MVD admits the notices were “intermittent” in reaching customers because of “input issues” with the division’s new computer database system.

As KRQE News 13’s Special Assignment team reported in March, the lack of notification led to the suspension of more than 3,600 Bernalillo County car registrations. Some drivers even paid a $30 registration reinstatement fee.

While the problems with the emissions letters are well documented, MVD claims the latest is a cost cutting measure. A spokesman for New Mexico’s Tax and Revenue Department, which oversees MVD, says the postcard notices will save $28,000 a year.

“In the face of lower budgets we have continually looked for ways to cut costs while maintaining the highest level of service to our customers. By reminding customers about emissions requirements on their registration renewal postcards, we are able to provide customers with the information they need while cutting costs. Beginning March 15, MVD will no longer issue a thirty day emissions notice letter. Customers will be reminded on their registration renewal postcards.”

–Ben Cloutier, spokesman, New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department.

Cars that are model year 1983 and newer, and registered in Bernalillo County are required to get an emissions test every two years.

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