WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Steve Campbell owns City Auto Sales in West Columbia.
He sells about 30 to 40 cars a month and, ever since the middle of May, those cars have ridden off the lot with new temporary license plates.
"North Carolina has been doing it for years,” Campbell said. “Georgia has been doing it for years. South Carolina is now doing it how it should be done."
The new temporary license plates have a unique alphanumeric code that can be traced back to the owner of the newly purchased vehicle. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles introduced these new temporary tags in May.
The old temporary tags didn't contain much information on them. They just had an expiration date usually written with a marker.
"In the following month or so, if you see a paper tag riding around town, if it's not headed to another state, then you know that paperwork was not done properly," Campbell said.
According to Campbell, the switch to these new tag costs his business about $200 a month. However, he believes the benefits outweigh the cost.
These new temporary tags were put in place to make it safer for law enforcement. Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said people could easily forge the old temporary tags.
"A stolen vehicle often times has this temporary tag on them,” Trooper Jones said. “So this way, it's easier for us and safer for us when we stop a vehicle with a temporary tag. We are able to get that information before we even get out of the car."
Campbell believes the change will also protect customers.
"As far as the individuals buying the car, it reassures them it's going to be done right," Campbell added.
The new temporary tags will become mandatory for all newly purchased vehicles starting on November 11.