Years ago, suspended drivers more or less got a free ride. It was hard for police to track them down.
Finding suspended drivers meant officers would have to radio in a plate number. It was a tedious amount of work.
Technology has changed all that.
Yesterday, the Sault detachment of the OPP introduced a new high tech tool that is aimed at finding those suspended drivers on the roads.
ALPR – automatic license plate recognition vehicle keeps track of the 8 million plus plates in Ontario and it will find you if you’re a suspended driver says Michael Wreggitt traffic sergeant.
The new vehicle , whether stationary or in motion takes a shot of a license plate every second and will automatically check the plate against the database of the Canadian Police Information Centre and the Ministry of Transportation.
“When officers do get a hit, the software automatically generates a report that includes what the offence is, what action the officer took and their GPS coordinates. If they need to, officers can use the report in court.” said Wreggitt
Saultonline.com was given an opportunity to ride along to see the tool in action. When officers do get a hit, the software automatically generates a report that includes what the offence is, what action the officer took and their GPS coordinates. If they need to, officers can use the report in court.
The software also instantly checks if the plates are expired or if they belong to a stolen vehicle.
Police say about 250,000 license suspensions are issued each year and that 2.3 percent of fatal motor collisions involve suspended drivers.
The specially equipped vehicles are not cheap, it costs about $60,000 per vehicle which includes the software and hardware as well as the cameras, that price does not include the cost of the actual vehicle. “It’s more closer to about $150,000 for each unit” Wreggit said.
The Sault Detachment will have three ALPR vehicles in service for the district. In total 32 ALPR vehicles are being used in the Province.
The new file of suspended drivers is anticipated to add an additional two million plates to the database.
The technology uses a camera mounted on the front and/or rear of a police vehicle that scans vehicle licence plates. The camera uses an infra-red illuminator which can remove variables that could interfere with a clear image capture such as headlight glare, sunlight, darkness and even adverse weather conditions.