The process of changing all of Cayman’s registered vehicles’ license plates to electronic tags, which is expected to take up to three years, will begin next month when the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing introduces the new service.

The department announced Tuesday that the new plates and windscreen coupons would be distributed starting in February to replace more than 45,000 license plates and vehicle registration coupons. Both devices are tamper-proof, officials said.

“They cannot be removed for illegal use on other vehicles,” a statement issued on behalf of DVDL Director David Dixon noted.

The old vehicle plates will be swapped out in phases, Mr. Dixon’s statement indicated. The first batch of new electronic tags will be used to replace hundreds of temporary DVDL plates that have been issued since December.

The temporary plates were issued by the department to about 700 vehicles, either newly purchased or recently shipped to the islands, in anticipation of the new electronic registrations going live early this year.

“Once those are replaced, DVDL will move ahead in replacing all of the old registration plates and coupons free of charge,” the government statement indicated.

The replacement process will occur as currently registered vehicles come in for periodically required inspections. The department said there will be no additional cost for the electronic tags as long as the vehicle’s registration is current. The normal fees for registration, based on vehicle category, will still apply.

Most vehicles can be licensed for three, six or 12 months. However, newer vehicles can receive two- or three-year registrations and, therefore, some of those cars will not be able to replace their old registration plates right away, DVDL officials said.

Drivers are currently being issued with temporary license plates. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Radio transmitters in plates

The electronic tags also add a new “enforcement component” to the vehicle registration system. The licenses are fitted with embedded radio transmitters which activate when they are driven over corresponding strips on the road. The transmitters will allow police to know the last general vicinity in which the vehicle was driven.

The system might also be modified in the future to monitor lower speed zones and even issue electronic speeding tickets, officials said.

The DVDL statement indicated that the licensing department would also be looking at enforcement capabilities once the new electronic tags are fitted to local vehicles. All operational vehicles should be fitted with the new plates within three years of the February launch, the department noted.

“Owners of vehicles with lapsed documents will be contacted by DVDL and advised to update their inactive registrations or licences,” Mr. Dixon’s statement read. “Back-licensing (for up to three years of arrears) will still have to be paid to maintain the vehicle registration.

“DVDL officials urge owners to take the initiative now to either update their expired licence/coupons, or turn in unused plates so they do not accumulate additional fees. This will involve the vehicle owner terminating or suspending the vehicle registration.”

Anyone who updates their license and registration after the three-year implementation period will be required to pay for the new plates, a new vehicle logbook and the windscreen coupon at a total cost of $115.

Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts first spoke about the electronic vehicle tag system in June 2016 in a Legislative Assembly Finance Committee meeting.

In addition to the enforcement improvements, the electronic plates can help monitor traffic patterns with an eye toward easing road congestion, Mr. Tibbetts said.

The DVDL will be able to create its own license plates for vehicles, along with the registration coupons.

Mr. Tibbetts indicated that “monitors” would be placed throughout the country when the electronic tagging system is up and running. The monitors allow every vehicle that crosses them to be tracked, he said.

A number of countries and territories worldwide, including Bermuda, South Africa and Mexico, have implemented electronic vehicle registraton in some form or another. Technology varies, but typically it involves mini-chips which emit UHF frequencies that are embedded in registration coupons and license plates.

The UHF chips communicate with devices installed along roadways and can communicate with hand-held readers – giving the users immediate information on who the vehicle is registered to, and whether the registration and car insurance are up to date.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. As people living on earth we need to watch the timely transition of what will be taking place as we are slowly but surely introduced into a “New World Order” Dogs, cats, birds cattle and other animals are electronically tagged. Your vehicle is going to be tagged; and soon the big day will come when we ourselves will be required to be tagged with the 666.
    The picture is going to be so beautifully and conveniently painted that we will say it is an easier and more convenient way of life. Of course it will look that way and feel that way; However for those of us who believe in God, and the Book of Revelation which tells us that these things would come to pass, the question is how far will we go. Soon we will need all that is required by the government to drive your car on the road. Of course you will take license plate with the chip, because you want to drive your car; but what about when the “New World Order” shows up, will we accept not travelling, shopping, owning a business, travelling on a bus, sending your children to school or being a part of society if we, because we refused the Mark of the 666 chip. This is just the beginning.
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  2. In the meantime most of us regularly see cars buzzing along either with no license plate at all or one that is impossible to read due to it being covered by a dark plastic screen.

    Even if the police don’t want to chase them all they need to do is walk though Fosters, Kirks, Hurleys or Camana Bay car parks to find and ticket them.

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    • Good point Norman: I realize that it is almost impossible for the police to act upon every license plate that is covered with a dark plastic window and ever so easy to remove when going for inspection. There remains the question: why would anyone wish to cover up or obscure their license plate numbers – what possible motive could they have? In my opinion it is an expression of intent or preemptive strike, showing that the car owner has considered doing something immoral (breaking the law) and has made provision to allude identification of their vehicle.. Why else would anyone cover their plates? The question is then asked: what does this action say of the character of the driver? Any employer should/would think carefully about taking on someone who openly exhibits such dubious traits no? Just a thought…

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