In the past two years, motorists in Tyler were cited 19,435 times for an expired or missing inspection sticker. But that is no longer a ticketable offense in the city.
As of March 1, the one sticker for both registration and inspection went into effect. Tyler police say they will no longer cite a person for an expired inspection sticker.
Don Martin, Tyler Police Department's public information officer, said officers in Tyler are giving motorists until next March to get caught up with the new system.
However, not all law enforcement agencies are following the same rule.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark said DPS troopers can still pull vehicles over for an expired inspection sticker.
And she added, you could also face a citation for the offense.
Smith County Sheriff's Office Lt. Gary Middleton, the department's public information officer, said patrol deputies are not necessarily looking for inspection sticker violations, but can also issue citations.
Middleton added patrol deputies typically work traffic in high crime areas and are not working traffic looking for registration and other minor infractions.
Martin said officers are trained to look at stickers on the windshield, to see if the occupants are wearing seat belts, and if there seem to be any other problems with the vehicle or its operation.
Martin said whether a person received a citation was up to the officer and the circumstances. But even if they were cited, most of the nearly 20,000 cited chose to correct the problem and have the ticket dismissed for a $20 fee.
Those who did not fix the problem in a timely manner had to pay the original $175 fine and other court costs.
Tyler city officials said those receiving an expired registration violation also have the option of paying a $20 fee instead of the larger fine, by renewing the sticker and presenting the evidence to the municipal court.
Trooper Dark, Middleton and Martin all agreed there will be an adjustment period, and that DPS and sheriff's officials will look at each case individually.
"Not going to say we won't write a ticket, but our troopers can still cite someone if the inspection sticker should have been renewed months prior to their registration sticker," Dark said.
For more information about the switch from two stickers to one log onto www.twostepsonesticker.com.
These answers apply to the first year of the new law, March 1, 2015 through Feb. 29, 2016. According to the tax office, these are the three most common scenarios.
1) The vehicle registration and inspection are already synched, and expire in the same month and year. The owner will need to get a new inspection to complete the registration. The new registration sticker will be synched with the inspection at this point.
2) The registration expires before the inspection. The car's registration will be able to be renewed as normal. The new registration will be synched with the inspection at this point.
3) The inspection expires before the registration. The car will need to be inspected as usual. When registration comes due, the vehicle will show a current inspection in the database, and the new registration sticker will be synched at this point.
Information courtesy of the Smith County Tax Collector-Assessor office.