Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- If you're buying a car in South Carolina, changes are in store.
New, trackable tags will be mandatory by the fall, replacing the paper tags you normally see on the roadway.
Come November 11, any newly-purchased car in South Carolina should have one until the official license plate comes in the mail.
"That 45-day license plate, the trackable license plate, ties a car to an owner," said Kevin A. Shwedo, Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).
Right now, if law enforcement pulls over a vehicle with a temporary license plate, the only information they have immediately is when the plate expires.
They don't know who the owner is or if the car is connected to a crime.
"The new trackable, temporary plates can give us that vital information just like a permanent plate would," said Lieutenant Colonel Marc Wright of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
The SCDMV worked with law enforcement to figure out what issues they face when on the job. One of the most popular pieces of feedback was the lack of information temporary tags provide officers once a traffic stop is initiated.
"The question was always asked: Would you want your son or daughter, if they were in law enforcement, to pull somebody over with one of the current tags at 3 o'clock in the morning knowing nothing about the person they're pulling over," said Shwedo.
Starting Wednesday, dealers can start distributing the new tags.
If you're buying a car, you will get the new temporary tag and your registration. This goes for casual sales, too.
"You won't be able to go in with your alcohol eraser and a new pen to write in a new date," Shwedo explained. "Will there be people who will try to fabricate what we've got here? Absolutely. But they are not going to be able to go into our database and change the results...It will come up with a very specific person and a very specific car and model. If the two don't agree, the individual probably fabricated it."
Roughly 3,000 dealers in South Carolina will need to comply.
For many, that means purchasing and adapting to an entirely new system.
"It's not a simple write 45 days from today's date on your temporary tag and slap it on a car, that's just not what's going to happen. There's a special paper that has to be fed into your printer. That printer will print your temporary tag out for that particular car," said Luke Godwin, owner of Godwin Motors. Godwin is also the former President of the Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association.
Owners of local dealerships tell us the law will also help prevent fake paper tags.
"Every week, I see one of my temporary tags on a car I know I didn't sell," said Godwin. "That's frustrating to me, for one, if it's a real piece of junk car driving down the road, it makes me look like I sell piece of junk cars, which is horrible. This new system, the tag that we print out will be unique to the car it was sold to."
Once the law goes into effect, you will not be able to leave the dealer's lot unless you have your temporary license plate and registration.
If November 11 hits and you don't have the new temporary plate after you buy a car, you will be pulled over.
This change does not cover mopeds or commercial vehicles.
"It may be at first a little bit of an aggravation to the dealers, but I think the payoff for the consumer more than outweighs that situation," said Godwin, who added that the change likely means extra costs and extra steps to the dealers. "Georgia has been using this system for over 10 years, maybe not over 10 years, but about 10 years. It just makes sure that people who are driving the cars, that the cars are registered to those people, that they have insurance, and that the car's not stolen."