3 Reasons Aussies Forget To Renew Their Rego

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3 Reasons Aussies Forget To Renew Their Rego

At the beginning of 2015, we set out to create an app, Regomate, that would remind us when our rego was due.

Why? Because we had all forgotten to renew!

One of us had driving around for two months in an unregistered car, another for 5 weeks, and me? I had been pulling along a trailer which hadn’t been renewed in 6 months. Needless to say, the fines hurt.

We aren’t alone.

How many Australians are forgetting their rego?

In South Australia the average number of drivers caught with an unregistered vehicle is 3,512 per month, or an average of 115 per day. At the moment the fine is only $404, however, since your CTP insurance is only valid if your car, or motorcycle, is registered, you get slapped with an additional fine of $696, bring the total to $1100 per fine.

I’m from NSW, where the fine is $637 for driving an unregistered vehicle and an additional $637 for driving without insurance, for a total fine of $1,274 per offence. If the matter goes to court, the maximum fine is $2200 for driving unregistered and $5500 for driving uninsured.

52,871 penalty notices were issued in the first 10 months of 2014, raising more than $32.4 million in revenue.

Australia wide, the number of people being caught driving an unregistered vehicle has almost doubled since 2010.

So the question is, why are so many people forgetting their rego?

Why are people forgetting their rego without stickers?

1. Replacing the sticker increased the likelihood that you would remember. 

Remembering to do something is significantly more difficult than remembering a past event, primarily because of the lack of retrieval cues.

Retrieval cues are what helps you retrieve a memory from your long term memory.

For example; you get out of your car in a car-park, and a the bloke in the parking stop next to you gets out of his car, says hi, and starts to tell you about his weekend. The problem? You have no idea who he is.

You start to do your own internal google search, all the while drawing a blank as he describes his fishing trip and the unbelievably large fish he caught. You begin to look around for something, anything, to help remember who he is. Then you see the West Tigers bumper sticker on his car. Almost instantly, you remember that his name is Robert, and you met him at a friends house last month at a BBQ, where me mentioned he liked the West Tigers. In this case, the retrieval cue was the bumper sticker.

Back when we had registration stickers, we had 3 different memory cues:

1) Getting the renewal letter,

2) Getting the car registered,

3) Putting the sticker on your car.

More than that, when we saw the sticker arrive, we unintentionally started to imagine us removing and replacing the sticker. Modern psychology shows us that if imagine the actions required to do an activity, we are far more likely to remember to do it than if we just try to remember ourselves.

These days, it’s just a single reminder, a letter, without any physical action or story connected. We have gone from three strong memory cues, to one weak one.

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