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DMV re-designs temporary tags to better fight fictitious plates

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is fighting back against fictitious license plates on Texas roadways. In April, the agency started rolling out new temporary tags (pictured left) that'll stop the phony ones from falling through the cracks. (CBS Austin)

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is fighting back against fictitious license plates on Texas roadways. In April, the agency started rolling out new temporary tags that'll stop the phony ones from falling through the cracks.

Unless you're looking for them, you may not even notice just how many temporary tags are on Texas streets. On any given day, TxDMV estimates about a million temporary tags are legitimate. However, thousands more are fake. It's a problem officials are fighting with an updated design.

Jeremiah Kuntz, TxDMV director of the vehicle titles and registration division, showed CBS Austin the new tags now rolling on Texas roads.

"You can see the security feature here that blurs when it gets copied," he explained, pointing out a new hologram located in the corner of the temporary tags. The state seal and a scannable barcode are just some of the other upgrades that'll help police spot a fake license plate quicker than before.

"We're constantly looking to try and improve those security features," Kuntz said.

In 2017, Austin Police spotted 200 fictitious license plates on Austin streets. Dash camera video from one stop showed officers arresting a driver with fake paper plates on Burnet Road.

"You can take one look at them. They're not legit," the officer said.

Police found methamphetamine inside the car and learned the driver's license was suspended and the vehicle was uninsured.

"Criminals are out there and they're always finding ways to get around the systems. We're constantly finding ways to prevent them from getting around the systems," Kuntz said.

The TxDMV is working on more security upgrades but those will remain confidential for security reasons. By the end of the summer, anyone with one of the old temporary tags on their car will be sending a red flag to police that their plates are expired or fake.

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