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Police, Rental Agents Smoothing Out St. John Car Woes

Feb. 5, 2009 – Efforts to get St. John's rental cars into compliance with Motor Vehicle Bureau standards are bearing fruit, Motor Vehicle Bureau Jerris Browne said Thursday.
The Police Department said in January that it would begin ticketing rental vehicles with expired inspection stickers. An unknown number of tourists received tickets for driving such cars.
"I saw four cars pulled over in Cruz Bay. Who wants to come to the island and get pulled over by the police," Helen Simon, who heads St. John's Community Integration Team, said.
She said that the expired inspection sticker problem existed with most of St. John's car rental companies.
To forestall that problem, Browne, the Police Department and CIT worked with St. John rental car companies to find a solution.
"It was such a simple thing to fix," Simon said.
The Motor Vehicle Bureau and CIT went personally to each rental car company to let them know vehicles must have current registration stickers, Simon said.
Browne said that only rental cars older than three years must be inspected, but inspectors must check Vehicle Identification Numbers and mileage on the new cars. To facilitate this process, Browne said inspectors will now visit rental car agencies rather than having the companies bring the cars to the Motor Vehicle Bureau.
"Make an appointment," Browne said.
He said the companies then bring the paperwork for all the vehicles to be registered that month at one time.
Albert Willis, who owns St. John Car Rental, said he didn't see it as much of an issue since his vehicles were registered in a timely basis.
However, he said that when police find vehicles with expired stickers, they should contact the car rental agency, not give the tourist a ticket.
All rental cars carry the name of the company on the vehicle. Many have spare tire covers with the company name in bold print.
"It's not the responsibility of the person to wonder whether the car is inspected," Willis said.
Willis said that people who rent vehicles from him occasionally throw out the vehicle registration paper and the insurance card stowed in the glove compartment.

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