South Carolina may start using electronic license plates, also called "e-tags," that would allow the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to publicly post messages about the vehicle on the plate (video below).
Those messages could include: “Suspended,” “Uninsured," “Amber Alert," or “Stolen.” The Amber Alert would apparently tell others that a missing child was in the car.
The South Carolina DMV would have complete access to all e-tags to flag vehicles.
"We 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 Compliance Innovations, maker of the e-tags, told WSPA-TV.
Co-founder David Findlay added: “It's not an LCD or an LED. What it's made of is electronic paper. It's a new technology that allows you to hold the image with no power whatsoever for over 10 years. The only time it needs power is when you're changing the status or the image on the plate.”
The e-tags would be powered by car vibrations and solar power.
Compliance Innovations claims that the DMV will not be able track vehicles’ locations and authorities would need three different court orders (DMV, cellular carrier, Compliance Innovations) to locate a vehicle.
The tech company still needs to reduce the e-tag to make it fit into the license plate slot and lower the cost, which is currently $100 per e-tag.
Compliance Innovations claims that South Carolina will save $150 million a year by identifying all cars with expired tags or insurance.
Of course, there could also be a myriad of problems associated with e-tags, if the wrong messages flashed on the wrong license plates.