The Dallas County Sheriff's Department is asking the public to help stop the proliferation of fake temporary license plates.
In late 2014 the state of Texas no longer required drivers to get a vehicle inspection sticker for their windshield.
Investigators in the Dallas County Sheriff's Department's Clean Air Task Force said that's when they started noticing an uptick in the number of fake temporary license plates on Dallas roads.
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"It's everywhere. Drive around town and you start looking for the plates you'll notice that they're just everywhere," said Captain John Dohmann.
Since 2014 there have been more than 1,650 incidents involving vehicles with fake plates. Dohmann said the fake plates present a major public safety concern. In a vast majority of cases the plates are being used to make vehicles that are not allowed to be driven appear street legal.
"A lot of these dealerships go to salvage auctions and buy salvage vehicles...that can only be sold for parts. These vehicles are unsafe. They're not supposed to be driven on the road...and do end up causing quite a few accidents," Dohmann said.
Last year nearly 10-percent of the first 500 accidents investigated by the sheriff's department involved a salvage vehicle. Even though they make up a majority of cases, Dohmann said the department struggles to find someone to file a complaint against a dealership that sold them a salvage vehicle with fake plates.
"We need your help, you know. If you're taken advantage of there is something we can do about it, but we do need the help of the public to be a complainant, take these dealerships to court, and make them pay the penalty for it. That right there would help us a lot."