South Carolina’s WSPA TV is reporting that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles is considering doing away with stamped metal plates and replacing them with new, electronic tags that would be linked to a central computer database. According to WSPA’s website, the new plates use “electronic paper” technology that can hold an image without power for up to 10 years. A clear coating on the plates could also generate small amounts of electricity, which would be required to change the image, from sunlight or even vibrations generated when a car is in motion.
The new plates would be linked to a central network and the image could be changed at the push of a button to alert law enforcement when the DMV receives notice that a car is stolen, uninsured, has expired tags or an when an operator’s license has been revoked. The DMV is quick to add that, while they would be able to receive signals, the electronic plates will not mount transmitters and cannot, therefore, be used to track a vehicle.
Currently, metal plates cost between $3 and 7$ to produce and the new plates are still more than $100. Despite the additional costs, South Carolina believes they will come out ahead as the new technology will help the state collect an estimated $150 million that the state loses each year to people who fail to renew their registrations. They also claim that consumers may also benefit from reduced insurance costs as uninsured drivers become easier for law enforcement officers to detect.
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords and look forward to a better, brighter future in their service.
Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He writes for any car website that will have him and enjoys public speaking. According to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.