South Carolina’s New Temp Tag Laws

Posted Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019

Last year, the South Carolina legislature adopted new temp tag laws which will go into effect May 15th, 2019, but won’t fully be implemented until November 11th (more on this later). The gist of the new law is that the plastic temp plates emblazoned with the car lots’ names and logos are going to be replaced by printed temp plates that have specific numbers and safety features just like the permanent plates. Obviously, these changes affect two groups of people: the dealers and the buyers.

new temp tag lawsIf you’re a dealer, the changes will affect you in more immediate and holistic ways. First, there are a couple of pieces of hardware that you must acquire if you don’t possess them already: a computer with internet connection, a laser printer, and blank SCDMV temp tag cardstock. You’ll also need to join an EVR (Electronic Vehicle Registration) provider; the SCDMV claims to have a list of EVR providers, but I haven’t found it yet.

The second change for the dealer is the procedure for obtaining the temp tag to place on the buyer’s car immediately upon purchase. You no longer will be able to simply write an expiration date on one of your plastic dealer tags. Instead, you will log into your EVR’s software and enter all of the buyer’s information that the DMV needs for registration and title work. The EVR’s software communicates with the SCDMV and receives an original temp tag number. You then print out the temp tag on SCDMV temp tag cardstock with its specific number associated with the VIN in the DMV’s database. In other words, the temp tag has a number specific to that vehicle just like the permanent plate.

The last change is that you no longer have to visit the SCDMV on behalf of the customer or handle the permanent registration and plate; since all of the customer’s info was input at the point of sale, the DMV issues the registration and plate directly to the customer via mail.

You may wonder what you’re going to do with any remaining plastic temp tags you have in stock. That’s one reason for the law’s taking effect on May 15th but not being fully implemented until November 11th. On November 11th, all those plastic temp tags are invalid in SC. So, if you’re a dealer, don’t order anymore of your plastic temp tags if you have enough to make it to May. Then, from May until November, try to use up all of those. In the meantime, get familiar with the new process and possibly start looking into EVR providers.

If you’re the buyer, the changes aren’t as immediate or far reaching, but they are convenient. You’ll now have a temp tag that no one should steal from your vehicle since it is vehicle specific. Also, since the dealer had to input your information into the system at the point of sale, you should receive your permanent registration and permanent plate more quickly since there are less steps involved. The only inconvenience is that the time spent during the sale may be longer since the dealer has a bit more to do at the point of sale. However, it’s a small price to pay for a smoother process.

So, that’s South Carolina’s new temp tag laws in a nutshell. Of course, the legislature still has a couple of months to refine the law, but these aspects shouldn’t change.

Photo courtesy of Reasonable Rides

Tags: ,