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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