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Laws governing registration, driver's licenses and motorcyclists will be enforced in North Carolina in December and January, according to a Wilmington Star-News report.

The paper says several changes related to license plates and registration will take place on December 1. Car owners can be subject to a fine of up to $100 for obscuring any part of their registration tags or license plates with a frame or cover. However, drivers in North Carolina will no longer be subject to a $1 postage charge for renewing their registrations by mail, the Star-News says. Car retailers will receive additional dealer plates in December, and the month will also be the first in which state commercial driver's licenses will have an automatic five-year expiration date applied.

As of next year, the Star-News says, driver's licenses for motorists between 18 and 65 will be valid for an eight-year term. Older citizens will see that reduced to five years, possibly due in part to concerns about the continued ability of elderly people to drive safely. Motorcyclists will also see new restrictions in January, the newspaper says, as the term for a learner's permit decreases to 12 months, with a maximum single renewal of six. To help keep down auto insurance costs, would-be motorcyclists under the age of 18 will be required to undergo extensive coursework and testing, according to the Star-News.

The new laws mark a general tightening of car insurance legislation in the state, possibly because of increasing concerns about road hazards and the financial and personal costs involved. Higher safety ratings on the state's roads could also provide better auto insurance rates to residents, experts say.