Overdrive Extra

James Jaillet

State-controlled messages on your truck

| July 01, 2013
Prototype of the e-tag. Courtesy of WSPA.
Prototype of the e-tag. Courtesy of WSPA.

What if when you were over your hours limit or were a little tired and your truck began flashing such a message not to your carrier but to the public at large and those driving around you that you weren’t complying with regulations or were a little drowsy?

Such is the premise behind new “e-tags” currently being considered by South Carolina, which, according to a report from WSPA, a Spartanburg, S.C.-based TV station, would have the ability to flash the words “SUSPENDED” or “UNINSURED” when such is the case. The plate messages would be controlled by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the report says.

If they can flash those signs, among other messages mentioned in the report, why would they not have the ability to make the plates on a truck flash “OVER HOURS,” “NONCOMPLIANT,” “DROWSY” or “UNSAFE” if a state deemed such.

There’s obviously no report of that being an intention, but would you put it past safety advocates to push for it?. Also, to make trucking-specific messages, the state would need access to electronic logging device information, and e-logs are obviously not required yet, but probably will be within the next few years. It would also require the state issuing the plate to have the ability to track your e-logs in real-time and automatically toss up the flag on your license plate.

One of the obstacles for implementation, however, is cost, as regular metal license plates cost under $10 to make, and, though WSPA’s article does not say how much the e-tags cost to produce, it does say the price is currently upwards of $100.

Click here to see WSPA’s article.

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  • Lisa

    Wow, considering how the state that I live in manages to mess things up this should be real interesting. I wonder who would take the blame if the message ends up being incorrect or the wrong plate number is accidentally typed in. The government really needs to take a break on some of this stuff.

  • No Reform

    Make one that says Illegal Alien Driving Run For Your Life!

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  • martymarsh

    I think that might come under the heading of unreasonable search and seizure, because they are already insinuating you are guilty by installing them, so they have to install it to catch you.
    But thanks for letting us know that S.C would have supported Hitler. These maggots are getting way out of hand.

  • Kurt Keilhofer

    As long as they make them say IMPEDING for slow folks from Florida!

  • Jason Haggard

    Every electronics device manufacturer is looking to cash in on the intent to make on board recording mandatory. When are people going to figure out that they have to stand together in this industry or they are going to get freight trained by the tag team of an overzealous government and their friends, corporate America.

  • Howard

    So, if your rig is stolen, you would prefer NOT to have the capability to try and recover it before it gets destroyed? You might be able to reduce the theft insurance with one of these plates. You can build one today with minimal technology by adding a cell phone or under dash GPS to see the location of the unit.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    I can see the potential for a display that is visible to the police/enforcement officials. Something they alone can view through a specially tinted windshield or device. To advocate for public humiliation; what is the point? Are we reverting to Scarlet letter days?

  • Semper Fi Trucking

    I think its time to prove a point. As an industry we should stop all trucks for just one hour on just one day to show the government its time to stop. Where ever you are, safely pull over and stop. If properly done, the media will help prove the point. By letting the government know that next time it will be for just one day. They know that most cities will fall if trucks stop for three days.

  • texan2thebone

    Can they make one that senses tailgaters and flashes “Get Off My Azz”?