LTO rules drivers need to know

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines  (March 29) —Standardized temporary plate? No OR/CR, No Travel policy? Confused with all these?

Get all the answers to your questions here. For ease of reading, we have indicated key words in bold.

What is the new issue with the Land Transportation Office (LTO)?

Well, aside from the backlog when it comes to the issuance of new number plates and driver licenses , there are two new issues here:

The first one deals with a memorandum issue by the Assistant Secretary of the LTO last January 11,2017 and is already in effect. It has to do with the standardization of temporary plates by using the MV file number for motorcycles and the combination of conduction sticker and MV file number for motorcycles  and combination of conduction stickers  and MV file number for anything with more than two wheels.

It’s memorandum requiring all vehicles released on or after February 15, 2017 onwards to have a certain temporary plates format for “unity and eases of visual  recognition.” And the memorandum put on vehicle dealer’s the obligation of attaching on the vehicle the unified temporary plate format with complete information before delivery or release to the buyer.

Now, the MV file number appears only on the Certificate of Registration (CR) which one gets only upon registration process, and Thus the second issue is what impacts on the sale of vehicles.

The second issue os the more pressing one, but it is often lumped together with the first issue because the public has gotten used to lax implementation of the law.

This second issue is the strict implementation of the NO OR/CR , No Travel rule.

In the first paragraph of the memo in which it cites Republic Act 4136 or the Traffic Code   of the Philippines, the LTO will apprehend and fine drivers using an unregistered vehicle, be it two, three, four, or even six or eight wheeled vehicle.

The exact words, the memo uses are: “to ensure that only registered motor vehicle re used or operated on any public highway.” This is the most critical part of the memo and it is much too overlooked.

The RA 4136 specifies that only registered motor vehicles can be operated on the Philippines Roads.

People think the conduction sticker allows use of a car . That is inaccurate because even only the LTO’s website it says:

(1.a.a1) Issuance of conductions stickers—Conduction stickers are only issued to accredited assemblers and importers of whole MV for road testing and delivery. The conduction stickers  is used to allow legal utilization of motor vehicles prior to it’s initial registration.

The legal use referred to in the above is road testing and delivery.

Adding to the wrong impression about CONDUCTION STICKER allowing use of a vehicle, is the idea that it is allowed for seven days. This too is wrong.

The 7-day window for dealer to register a sold vehicle with the LTO is merely the penalty-free window within which eh registration must be processed (RA 4136) Chapter 5, Section 56, A. (this doesn’t mean that a vehicle can be operated without registration. In fact, RA 3146 also penalizes driving motor vehicles without registration. (Chapter 5, Section 5, D).

So why exactly is needing an MV file number and not being able to use an unregistered vehicle going to impact on the buying experience?

Well, if registration happen within the day of purchase there would be no issue. The impact comes from the fact that it takes anywhere from 14 to 90 days to complete registration period.

These completion time is based on transmittal receipt held by the vehicle dealers.

Is it possible to complete the registration process within the 7-day period prescribed?

Oh yes, it is possible to complete registration even within 1, 2, or 3 days, this only happen when there is is public scrutiny or special consideration like “SOP” or “High connections”.

Are these memorandum affecting Metro Manila only? or is it nationwide?

This is nationwide.

Where can I see a copy of this memorandum?

You can check out the memorandum on the standardized plates here. Ask for the new OR/CR no travel policy. You can refer to the Traffic Code of the Philippines.

If it’s taking the government so long in sowing plates, why don’t use just use CONDUCTION  STICKER  numbers permanently? 

As mention above, CONDUCTION STICKER serve a very specific purpose. It is issued to accredited assemblers and importers of whole motor vehicles (MV) for the road testing and delivery use only. The conduction sticker is used to allow the legal use of a vehicle prior to it’s initial registration.

The LTO is only “enforcing the law” the requires motor vehicle to register before it is released.

What about these VIRTUAL PLATES?

Because of the backlogs in getting the permanent plate numbers, the LTO is showing so-called “VIRTUAL PLATES.”

Virtual plates contain the car registration issued to a new vehicle; it’s just that the assigned plate number is not available yet. Having a virtual plate helps in the release of your permanent plate number in the future.

Now, this is where it gets tricky.

The law actually prohibits the making and/or using of improvised plates. It has corresponding fines unless you have an AUTHORITY TO OPERATE with the USE of IMPROVISED PLATES. With that in mind, if you plan to use your VIRTUAL PLATE NUMBER, always have a copy of your OR/CR with you and a copy of the Authority to Operate with the USE of Improvised Plates.

If I bought a vehicle before February 15, 2017, how does it affect me?

IF you have your OR/CR with you then these two memorandums don’t affect you much, you can be pulled over by authorized LTO personnel, Yes, but there are no fines involved. All you nee to rove is that: first, you bought the vehicle before February 15, hence, not needing the standardized temporary plate; and second, that you have the OR/CR with you to prove ownership, in other words, if don’t want the hassle, just ditch those “Euro”  or JDM” look temporarily plates and go for the standardized formats.

If you don’t have your OR/CR yet, you cannot use your vehicle.

The 7-day window using theVehicles Sales Invoice or Delivery does not work anymore. There was never a 7-day legal usage window in the first place period, It came about the misinterpretation and “nakagawian”.  You can be fined P10,000 for using unregistered vehicle. If registered to another owner, the owner is fined P10,000 and the driver P1,000.

If I bought or after February 15, 2017, how does it affect me?

Your vehicle should have been released by the dealer with standardized temporary plates already attached. It should indicate details such as the CONDUCTION STICKER NUMBER, dealer name and, MV File number, and since the MV file  number is only generated once your vehicle has been registered, you should also have your OR/CR too.

If you still don’t have your OR/CR, you cannot use your vehicle. Even if you use the standardised temporary plate but don’t have the MV FILE NUMBER, you are considered an unregistered vehicle. You can be pulled over and fined. The fine is also P10,000 to the owner and P1,000 to the driver.

Be informed