"E-Tags" Hit the Roads

Sgt. Brent Barbee, APD
Sgt. Brent Barbee, APD
Paul Harpole, John Chandler Ford
Paul Harpole, John Chandler Ford

A new system to help combat fraud, theft, and to protect your identity is now on Texas roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation's new electronic temporary vehicle "buyer" tags or "E-Tags" instantly register all newly purchased vehicles in a statewide database.

The previous temporary tags had no tracking system for law enforcement officers to identify who owned a vehicle.

The Amarillo Police Department says the "E-Tag" will help keep many criminals off the road.

Sgt. Brent Barbee says,"A problem we would see is the dealer tags are not vehicle specific they are not owner specific so when they stop the car all they knew was the date or supposedly the date that that tag was to expire."

While many dealers say the new "E-Tag" system is a good idea they say it also makes their work more cumbersome.

Paul Harpole of John Chandler Ford says, "From a dealers standpoint their are some impracticalities that could be corrected in the legislature and I hope they will be."

Harpole says the impracticalities include more paperwork. "About six forms and then the customer signs them and puts two in their glove box, we put two in our file, and put one on the back of the car and so the state does not know how to do it with less paperwork."

Dealers are also responsible for finding expired tags on their lot and replacing them.

"Basically we had to take the tags off of all our cars and get another one every time we go on a demo ride. So that means everyday walking in the lot and finding the ones that expired and replacing them. No one can do that. Its impractical so they didn't have the knowledge of what we do everyday so the passed a law that's a little onerous in that part."

Harpole says his dealership is using temporary magnetic license plates to get around replacing the tags. The "E-Tags" come at a cost of five dollars to the consumer and must be immediately replaced when your license plate arrives.

For the complete rules and regulations visit http://www.txdot.gov/publications/motor_vehicle/qa_on_etag0001.pdf