Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting a License Plate for Your Trailer in Colorado

It should be noted that in conversations about politics, I generally take up the “side” of pro-government.  However, anytime I have to actually interact with government agencies, I quickly understand where those in favor of smaller government are coming from.  However, it seems strange that people would argue for more “local government” in favor of making government “smaller” when local government is generally the most frustrating to deal with. Any whoooooo…

I recently bought a small flatbed utility trailer at Harbor Freight to haul drywall (to finish the studio) and maybe haul off yard waste every once in a while.

In typical government fashion, it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find a straight answer on the website about what you need to do to get a license plate for your trailer.  I’m not sure why this is such a closely guarded secret.  It’s actually a fairly simple process (as government processes go).  The trouble I find is that all the information on the website is cyclical.  If you click on a link that you think will give you some information about titling your trailer, you are directed to a different (but similar!) page with a LOT of information.  You have to dig to find the tiny piece of information you’re looking for, then “click,” and BOOM you’re starting all over again.  I spent about 45 minutes on this wild goose chase before giving up and calling someone (at one point I did see a tiny little blurb about home made trailers needing to be inspected by the State Patrol, but nowhere did they give any information about the temporary plate you’ll need in order to drive there). The person I spoke with put me on hold several times (asking others for the answers), and I was transferred around a couple of times.  I spoke with people at several offices and also the Colorado state patrol.


So as I mentioned, I had purchased a trailer kit from Harbor Freight; therefore I had to assemble and wire my own trailer (which evidently classifies it as “home made”) and thus needed an inspection from the Colorado state patrol before being able to title/register my trailer.

Once you have assembled your trailer, you need to get a temporary plate, but these temps only last ONE DAY (as opposed to the ones for a car which last a month or two).  Thus, on the day you have your inspection appointment at the State Patrol office, you must first go to the DMV and get your one day temp tag.  I actually asked the lady on the phone, “Do these temps last 24 hours, or just for the day you get them?”

She said, “Twenty-fours hours.”

“Great!” I said, “So I can come in and get it today around 3pm, and it will be good until my appt. tomorrow morning at 10am?”

“No,” she replied, “It will expire tonight at midnight.”

I SOOOOOOO wanted to ask, “Um, so, do you work for the government?”

REMEMBER: I wrote “DMV” above, but it’s actually the titling office.  In Colorado, you get your driver’s license at a COMPLETELY different place than where you title/register your vehicles.  This is incredibly stupid but nonetheless the case.  Every time I’m at one of these offices, there is inevitably some poor schmoe who has waited in line for nearly an hour only to get up to the desk and have the clerk yell at them because they are in the wrong place.  It doesn’t seem fair (or even reasonable/acceptable) for the clerk to yell at the person for thinking the government would be efficient enough to put all functions of the DMV in ONE PLACE, but this is almost always the case.

It should also be noted that the Colorado State patrol office where I will be having my trailer inspected is nearly THREE TIMES the distance from my house as the Titling Office.  Thus, I will have to drive (technically illegally) all the way to the DMV to get my temporary plate, then drive to the State Patrol, then drive immediately back to the DMV to get my “regular” plate.  Brilliant.  What sense does this make AT ALL?!  I have to drive ILLEGALLY to the Titling Office to get a temporary piece of paper to drive somewhere else and then drive back.  WHY NOT JUST ELIMINATE THE FIRST STEP ENTIRELY (other than the fact that the state gets some paltry amount of money for the temporary title –and I have to sit in line for an hour).Steaming mad

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