Skip to main content
Publish date:

Wisconsin 'Registration Rights Act' is progressing - but more support is needed

Registration Rights Act Update

Reader Tom Zat of Alfa Heaven is leading the charge to ensure that previously street-legal vehicles will no longer be denied registration in Wisconsin. The campaign to spread word for a bill to provide this right has been successful (we e-mailed our local assemblymen and received one positive response from Senator Olsen), but hobbyists need to continue backing the bill in order to see its passage.

You can add your name to the list of supporters by clicking here.

Here's the run-down from Tom Zat that should answer all of your questions regarding the bill and the next steps:

Your emails, phone calls, letters got the attention of Wisconsin legislators.
A Wisconsin Senate Bill number was announced on Monday, SB462. We are awaiting the companion Assembly bill number.
This is phase two. The next step is that the bill will go in front of the transportation committees.
We are hoping to have a joint Senate & Assembly committee hearing so that we only have to have one public hearing.
Yesterday, we met with most of the committee members and other influential legislators
and/or their staff to answer any questions they might have.
Our bill has overwhelming bi-partisan support.
We were told the committee meeting will be scheduled during the week of Feb. 20-24.
We will have several people to speak and answer the legislators' questions.
You do not have to go to the hearing to show your support. As soon as the date is set,
we will post the information so you can show your support in person if you wish.
We need everyone to list your name and address by filling in the form by clicking this link
or the one at the bottom of the page.
This list will go into the record to show citizen support for this bill.
Sign up now! Tell everybody you know to sign up. We can win.

Motor Vehicle Registration Rights Act

Q: Why do you want to repeal 341.10(6)?
A: We want it to prevent incorrect denials of registration. WisDOT has applied various interpretations to suit the department policies. DOT has repeatedly applied this statute to deny registration for various legal Motor Vehicles, both domestic and imported, even after a 2008 Administrative Law Judge ordered them to issue registration (Pinzgauers). These have included:
2003 Craig Wilson 1970 Leyland Mini
2007 Steve Bunnow 1943 Willys Jeep
2007-2009 Multiple Owners 1970-'80s Steyr-Puch Pinzgauers
2010 Kathy Kasberger 1985 Chevrolet Blazer
2011 Tom Zatloukal 1985 Chevrolet pickup

Q: What is wrong with using 341.10(6) to prevent off-road vehicles from registration?
A: This statute refers to an obsolete authority. It cites "s. 114 of the national traffic and motor vehicle safety act", which has since been superseded by Title 49, U.S. Code, Ch. 301, sc 30115, and requires a FMVSS-compliance label.
Requiring an FMVSS-compliance label as a condition of registration is unworkable for the following reasons:
Many legal Motor Vehicles never had these labels, including all pre-Oct. 1969, most U.S. Gov. Surplus, and imports.
Fed. law exempts all vehicles over-25 yrs. old from this requirement.
Labels can be missing due to accident, repaint, or door replacement, and replacement labels are not available.

Q: Without 341.10(6) what authority will DOT have to prevent "off-road" vehicles from being registered?
A: The proposed change does not effect 341.10(2)(c.) "The applicant has failed to furnish…. other information or documents required by law or by the dept. pursuant to the authority of law." If the department has a concern about a vehicle, it can ask for more information. If the response is not satisfactory the Dept. can deny registration. It is then the vehicle owner's responsibility to show the vehicle is road legal by having it inspected.

Q: If you repeal 341.10(6), how can DOT prevent registration of go-carts, mini-bikes and ATVs?
A: State statute already specifies that certain off-highway vehicles are exempted from registration, including bicycles, golf carts, off-road utility vehicles, farm tractors, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and personal mobility devices under s.341.05 - 341.058.

Q: Why do you want to repeal 341.10(6m)?
A: Because this statute has effectively prohibited regular registration for thousands of Govt. Surplus vehicles which were previously legal here, and are currently legal in every other U.S. state. Since the passage of this statute last year, DOT has required owners of Jeeps, pickups, and Blazers who desire regular registration to somehow prove that their vehicle complies with FMVSS, a feat which an Administrative Law Judge has termed "essentially impossible". We need to remove this impossible burden from owners of otherwise legal vehicles.

Q: If 341.10(6m) is repealed, what will prevent dangerous ex-military vehicles from getting registration and driving around?
A: Dangerous ex-military vehicles are prohibited in other ways, and this bill will not change that.
When the U.S. govt. sells a surplus vehicle, it determines whether it is a highway-legal Motor Vehicle or not. Off-highway vehicles are not sold with documents for obtaining title, and therefor cannot be registered. Combat vehicles are destroyed by the U.S. Government. Units preserved for display are rendered inoperable.
Imported Motor Vehicles must comply with US DOT and US Customs regulations. Vehicles which cannot meet these requirements are never issued titling documents, and cannot be registered.
Above all, existing state equipment requirements and weight & dimension restrictions still apply, preventing all but the most mundane vehicles from operation.

Q: If this bill passes, will the law allow the operation of half-tracks or tanks?
A: Currently, these vehicles cannot be driven on our roads, because any vehicle which runs on treads is prohibited from operation under Wis. Stat. 347.45. This bill does not change that.

Q: Will this bill allow vehicles with guns?
A: It won't change anything. All firearms fall under existing state and federal gun laws.

Q: Will this bill allow armored ex-military vehicles on the roads?
A: It will only allow them on the road if they meet the same minimum standards that apply to civilian armored vehicles, which might be possible but is highly doubtful.

Vehicle Inspection
Q: Why do we need the inspection provision of this bill?
A: The inspection provides owners with a quick and simple process to determine whether their vehicle meets the minimum applicable equipment requirements, in the event their registration is denied over questions about equipment and condition. It will likely result in fewer of these disputes making their way into appeal court.

Q: Will this inspection process allow a stolen vehicle to avoid detection and be registered?
A: The inspection will not alter existing theft-prevention measures. The inspection will verify physical characteristics of the vehicle. If the vehicle passes the inspection, then registration may not be denied for equipment or condition issues. The inspection does not resolve vehicle ownership questions. The fact that the inspection is performed by Wisconsin law enforcement means a stolen vehicle could be detected.

Q: What is the cost for an inspection?
A: The statutory fee is $80. The cost would be paid by the vehicle owner, however, it is small compared to the cost of presenting your case to the appeals court.

Collector Plate
Q: Why change 341/266(j)(c.) to "substantially" original?
A: Currently the law has no allowance for any safety, convenience or drivability upgrades. DOT is attempting to be the authority on what is original to every make and model car ever produced.
To specify a list of acceptable modification to all types of vehicles is not feasible because someone has to come up with the list and then it will need constant updating. Different vehicles have different concerns. The word "substantially" allows owners of pre 1937 cars to install safety glass, 1968 and older vehicles to upgrade to dual circuit brakes and allows modifications mandated by recalls. This bill does not change the fact that collector cars are required to meet Chapter 347 equipment requirements.

Q: Why allow former military vehicles to register as collector vehicles?
A: Before bill 135 took effect in October 2010, military vehicles were registered as collector. Most former military vehicles meet state and federal requirements and should be treated the same as all other complying motor vehicles, including the option to register as Collector.

Q: How can we assure public safety?
A: A 2010 study commissioned by the Historic Vehicle Association stated all registered vehicles 25 years and older comprised 2.4% of the national fleet. Trucks, busses and commercial vehicles being 1/5th of that class. Mileage driven by this class is only .08 of the national total. WisDOT's O.G.C. stated on February 12, 2011 "as a practical matter, there may be little safety concern." Operation still requires vehicles meet Wisconsin safety and equipment standards. As part of 2010 Act 135, former military vehicles, including models that do not meet state and federal requirements, have been tracked for safety. There has only been one incident reported since the law took effect in Oct. 2010.

Q: Is it true that vehicles 25 years old and older are exempted from FMVSS?
A: Yes. FMVSS is a set of requirements for manufacturers of new motor vehicles. Since implementation in 1969, they have been updated annually. No one can offer for sale a new motor vehicle that is not certified to applicable FMVSS standards. FMVSS compliance is a prerequisite to apply for title to a new motor vehicle. Wis 341.10(3) certificate of title is a prerequisite for registration.

Q: What new type of vehicle will be allowed on the road if this bill is approved?
A: None. This bill does not change any state or federal equipment standards. It merely clarifies that if a vehicle meets those standards, it is eligible to be registered regardless of age. This bill directs DOT to do so.

Q: When does the law effect commercial vehicles?
A: Commercial motor vehicles registered at 10,000 pounds and higher are required to have an annual inspection as per 49 CFR 396. The equipment and safety requirements are more stringent than Wisconsin requirements or FMVSS. Vehicles under 10,000 pounds must meet Ch 347 requirements. This bill does not effect these requirements.

To register in favor of SB462 click here.

To get added to our existing email notification system, please send an email to the following address:
If you are already on the list, you do not need to re-enter.

Where to Bid

Car Auciton

Check out the Old Cars Auction Calendar

The Old Cars Auction Calendar has the when and where you are looking for when it comes to classic car auctions.