South Carolina Mulls Switch to Electronic License Plates

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Many changes have been made to our automobiles to improve safety over the years, but one component that has remained relatively stagnant has been the license plate.  The designs might change, but it’s still essentially a piece of metal stamped with an identification number.  In South Carolina, however, that could change if officials agree to the adoption of electronic license plates.

The thought is that such a move would improve highway safety in a number of different ways.  For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles would have instant access to the plate and thus would be able to alter a portion of the plate to read something like “Uninsured,” “Stolen,” or “Amber Alert.”  This could assist cops with pulling over vehicles whose drivers are suspected of violating the law in some way.

The company responsible for the plates is called Compliance Innovations.  The plates utilize electronic paper that runs on vehicle vibrations and a solar-power collecting film.  Founders are attempting to assuage concerns about privacy by explaining that tracking would be impossible without a court order to the company, a cellular carrier, and the DMV.

If South Carolina decides to pursue the matter, it will likely begin with a pilot program among vehicles operated by state employees.  One hope is that widespread adoption and success could drop insurance rates due to there being fewer instances of uninsured drivers on the road.