Since You Asked: Registration must be in car while it's in use

Recently, I was stopped by a small-town police officer for speeding. When he asked for my registration, I told him that I did not carry my registration in the car for identity theft prevention.

He had not heard of this and informed me that not having registration in my car was a $700 fine. He did let me off with just a speeding ticket but very sternly warned me to get registration in the car.

Must a car owner keep the car registration in the vehicle at all times? I have been told by identity theft specialists that we should not keep the registration in the car.

— Ellen W., Medford

Ellen, your concerns are not without reason.

There have been instances where "people's residences have been victimized because of information taken off of a vehicle registration," said Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen.

Nevertheless, it is required that you have a copy of your registration with you when you are driving, along with your drivers license and insurance card. Failure to have your registration could result in a $142 fine.

In order to prevent identity theft, Hansen recommends keeping your vehicle registration in your wallet or purse or in an inconspicuous spot in your car, such as in the trunk or under the spare tire. Keep in mind that your glove box is the first place a thief will look, said Hansen.

"When people break into cars, they can get access to everything that's in there and that includes your address," he said.

If multiple people drive your vehicle, make copies of the registration for everybody's safekeeping, suggested Hansen. If pulled over by an officer, you are permitted to show a copy of the vehicle registration.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering them all.

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