Bolivia is tackling the widespread problem of unregistered or stolen cars by introducing a mandatory car windscreen chip. Jim Drury reports.
The problem of illegal cars smuggled across Bolivia's four borders seemed intractable. But that could all change, thanks to this mandatory windscreen chip fitted to vehicles. Scheme spokesman Einard Jofre. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION AT THE NATIONAL HYDROCARBONS AGENCY, EINARD JOFRE, SAYING: "The system works through the implementation of R-FID technology, that is to say, auto-identification using radio frequency. For this reason they have been installed in the windshields of all vehicles with a tag, a chip, which contains a unique identifier which is detected the moment a vehicle enters a gas station." When a vehicle enters a fuel station forecourt its chip is scanned. Duplicate license plates, the tell-tale sign of illegal or unregistered cars, are quickly identified. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION AT THE NATIONAL HYDROCARBONS AGENCY, EINARD JOFRE, SAYING: "With this we've identified vehicles that didn't have the necessary documents or had a problem with their license plates. This is then reported to the relevant institutions and the necessary action taken." This involves the police seizing vehicles until owners can prove their legality. So far 12,000 vehicles with duplicated plates have been detected. Now the program is set to be rolled out nation-wide. In a separate scheme, mobile roadside laboratories stop vehicles and check their fuel in a bid to stop poor quality gasoline being sold by vendors. Bolivia's authorities are confident they're en route to driving out two scourges of the roads.