If You Live in South Carolina an Electronic License Plate Could Soon Tattle on You

Liz Klimas

Jun. 13, 2013


South Carolina might consider a proposal for an electronic license plate system that would call out drivers in non-compliance with the law.

According to WSOC-TV, the system by a company based in the city of Columbia would reveal to authorities on the road —and fellow drivers —stolen cars, those driving with a suspended license or without insurance, and could even give Amber Alert updates.

“We actually put that wording on the license plate across the top and, depending on how the state wants it, it could be in bright red, and we can actually flash the plate, have it flashing as it goes down the road,” Brian Bannister, co-founder of the company Compliance Innovations told WSAV.

Compliance Innovation’s electronic license plate tag claims it would update a more than 60-year-old vehicle identification system. According to the company’s website, the electronic license plate would use “e-paper,” which is thicker than metal tags and not only charges on the kinetic energy and solar power but can change wirelessly to indicate the vehicles current registration status.

WSOCTV obtained reactions about the technology from locals:

Channel 9 explained the high-tech device to people at a York County DMV office, and reactions were mixed.

“I don’t like that. It think it’s compromising your privacy. It’s too Big Brother-ish,” said Julie Waldrop.

Doug Perkins sells cars for a living. He saw a positive side.

“It’ll be good for Amber Alerts, when a child’s missing,” he said. “I think it’ll be good and bad.”

Some believe that would cut down on crime.

“To uphold the law would be a good thing, in my opinion,” said Ron Waldrop.

Patsy Spargo wasn’t sure how she felt about it, and she had concerns.

“The government, they can have too much control. I’d really have to think about it,” she said.

Although some consider the technology too big brother, it could eliminate the need to obtain a new registration sticker on an annual basis and cut down on trips to the DMV. The company’s president, David Findlay, told WSOCTV they are trying to lower the price of the electronic plates to under $100 and noted they would be durable for about 10 years.

WSOCTV reported that the concept hasn’t formally been brought up with elected officials, but the company is making pitches to them in the state’s capital.

“It’s really interesting. You have to weigh the cost of it, and see what the cost is versus the benefit, but I like it,” state Rep. Ralph Norman told WSOCTV of Compliance Innovation’s electronic plate.