Although more than 16,000 electronic license plates and window coupons have been issued by the Cayman Islands Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing, scanning devices which allow police to automatically “read” those tags are not in use.
“The new process for scanning the electronic vehicle coupons is not yet being used by officers in the field,” a statement from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service sent to the Cayman Compass earlier this month read, indicating the scanning devices were being programmed at the vehicles department.
“Currently, the presumption is … that all vehicles with the new electronic coupons still have valid registration as they have only recently been received,” the RCIPS statement, issued by Inspector Ian Yearwood, read.
The DVDL began the process of replacing the old orange-colored metal plates on approximately 45,000 registered cars last spring, with about one-third of those now issued. However, department officials noted that between 4,000 and 5,000 new electric plates are sitting in storage at the main Crewe Road office awaiting pick up.
Roughly 22,000 to 24,000 more will be replaced over the next two years or so, as drivers re-register their vehicles and swap the old plates for new ones.
At the moment, police officers are doing stop checks at roadblocks “the old-fashioned way” by inspecting the logbook in the vehicles. For cars that do have the new electronic window coupons, no specific date of registration is visible.
However, police can also check a vehicle registration by calling the 911 Emergency Communications Centre to verify the information.
“When the scanners are implemented, officers will be able to use them to scan tags and obtain results within a short period of time, usually a few seconds,” the RCIPS statement read. “At this point, no problems with the speed of the scanners have arisen.”
The electronic plate scanners will be used at traffic checkpoints, the police noted. It is not known how many police officers will ultimately carry the devices.
At the moment, when a car using the old Cayman Islands license tags is inspected and passes, the driver can pay for the new registration period of three months, six months or a year, and will temporarily receive one of the “old” window stickers to show their vehicle is street legal.
When the new plates are ready, officials said a representative from the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing will contact the driver and let them know to report back to the Crewe Road office to collect the new license plates.
The process, in cases where the new electronic tags are not immediately ready, can take between one and two weeks. The inspected vehicle can still be legally driven and any police officer looking at the car will see from the window sticker that it is still operable.
Although the change-over to the new plates has caused some headaches for drivers, police note the new electronic plates will eventually make the annual car registration process more convenient.
“Once a person has their vehicle inspected, they can renew their vehicle online through DVDL … instead of having to wait in line at DVDL,” the RCIPS statement read. “They only need to do the annual inspection of their vehicle at DVDL or at any of the authorized private garages.”