Originally created 07/12/97

South Carolina's fading decals



COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Those 1998 South Carolina license plate validation decals were supposed to be red, not pink. They're fading in the sun, however, so the state Motor Vehicles Division finds itself having to recall about 600,000 of them.

Police nationwide have been told the stickers are fading so they don't pull over people for suspicious-looking plates, said Sue Sadik, a state Public Safety Department spokeswoman. Motor Vehicles is part of Public Safety.

A single call will allow the state Highway Patrol and other police officials to check the division's computer records for which tags have been updated, she said.

The Dayton, Ohio-based Standard Register Co., which has produced the decals for South Carolina since 1991, did not use fade resistant ink on this year's decals, she said.

South Carolina motorists renew their license plates yearly by placing a new sticker in the lower right corner over the previous year's decal. The stickers that expire this year were black, and no problems were reported with those, Sadik said.

The defective stickers were issued between this January and May, she said.

A Standard Register worker mistakenly used the wrong ink, company spokeswoman Beverly Reiman said.

Sadik said motorists and the state will not have to pay anything for the change.

"Standard Register has accepted responsibility and will bear the expense of printing notification postcards, replacement decals, postage, use and installation of a 1-800 phone line and any other associated costs," Reiman said.

She said she did not know how much the company would have to spend.

The motorists affected will get a postcard by Aug. 15 telling them they need new decals, and the decals will be mailed later, Motor Vehicles Division officials said.