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Faded vehicle inspection stickers confusing police

Wednesday - 9/26/2012, 1:55pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia State Police is notifying authorities statewide about ink on some vehicle inspection stickers fading or disappearing when exposed to sunlight, causing problems and confusion for drivers and police.

The agency's safety division sent a notice earlier this month to local police and inspection stations about the red expiration stickers for 2013 after receiving complaints over the summer so that those on patrol don't mistake the faded sticker for a criminally altered one.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said Wednesday that the company that made the stickers under a contract with the agency used a pigment that's unable to endure intense sun exposure. The manufacturer has corrected the problem and printed new stickers issued as part of the inspection of about 7.6 million vehicles annually, Geller said. The number of problem stickers was not immediately available.

The fading stickers have led to some drivers receiving summonses. In some incidents, the inspection sticker was removed by authorities, according to the bulletin issued Sept. 11 by Capt. Ronald B. Saunders, commander of the Virginia State Police Safety Division. The issue was first reported Tuesday by WAVY-TV in Hampton Roads.

Authorities can ask a driver for one of two official inspection receipts to confirm the sticker is valid _ a small pink one or the larger white certification paper verifying the annual inspection, the notice said. Drivers also may contact the nearest state police safety division office to have the sticker replaced without an additional inspection.

A telephone message to the sticker manufacturer, RR Donnelley, left by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

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