Owners of farm and utility trailers across Nebraska will now be asked to include the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) when registering or renewing trailers in 2019.
The new policy began on Jan. 1, in which owners of utility or farm trailers will be asked to include the VIN of their utility or farm trailer when registering their trailer for the first time, or when renewing their registration, according to information released by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
“This is an important step to bringing the registration of utility and farm trailers into line with other, similar types of trailer,” said Rhonda Lahm, director of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, in a released statement.
If the trailer does not have a VIN, or if the VIN is unknown, the county treasurer’s office will provide one. The county treasurer will also provide a decal to display the assigned VIN on the trailer at no additional cost to the owner.
“By including the VIN, or allocating a VIN to a trailer which doesn’t have one, we are able to track ownership of trailers more accurately,” Lahm said. “In the event of theft, a VIN displayed on the trailer and registration document will assist in pairing the trailer with its owner.”
In 2017, there were 184,770 utility and 81,784 farm trailers registered in Nebraska.
According to Administrator of the Driver and Vehicle Record Division Betty Johnson, tracking ownership of trailers can be difficult without recording a VIN.
“The new information will ensure greater consistency in how trailers are registered and result in us providing a more comprehensive service to our customers,” she said, in a released statement.
She added that the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles has been working with county treasurer offices and agricultural groups across the state to prepare for the change.
Existing owners of utility and farm trailers are not required to provide a VIN until their registrations are up for renewal.
“At that time, they can renew their trailer as normal and include the trailer VIN to ensure it is properly registered,” Johnson said.
In Platte County, new trailer registration is completed at the Platte County Treasurer Office, which is located on the first floor, west side of the Platte County Courthouse building at 2610 14th St. in Columbus. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. the second Thursday of the month.
Platte County Treasurer Jenny Reppert said her office has already had several people come in to register trailers and provided VIN decals for newly registered trailers.
"We just got our stickers this week," she said.
Reppert said she was hopeful local trailer owners would check to see if their trailers do or do not have a VIN before coming in for registration to save them from having to come back in if they are unsure. She also confirmed that if someone is unsure if their trailer has a VIN, they can still come in and get one. Reppert said the new number will override the previous one.
She added that farm and utility trailer owners who do have trailers with a VIN can just take a photo of the VIN and bring that in when they come to the Platte County Treasurer's Office for registration.
Ultimately, she said she hopes people will make note of the change to the process.
"This is going to be a huge change, because if you do not have a VIN on your trailer, starting in October, the system will not be able to process those trailers without the VINs. If you do not have a VIN, a VIN will have to be assigned. So it might take a few extra minutes for the transaction," she said.
New trailer registration is completed at the owner’s local County Treasurer office. Renewals can be completed online at dmv.nebraska.gov, by mail, or at the owner's local County Treasurer office.
For more information, contact the Platte County Treasurer's Office at 402-563-4913.