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Traffic surveillance: license plate cameras crack down on unsafe cars

Published by Dan on July 13, 2007 7:45 AM

Red light cameras have become a great fundraising tool for cities and municipalities everywhere. Tickets for light-runners help police forces focus on serious crimes and not minor traffic infractions. Australian police have taken this principle and expanded it to include freeways and byways in New South Wales - this time using cameras designed to capture license plate numbers.

These cameras, part of the Safe-T-Cam initiative, are posted at regular intervals throughout New South Wales' freeway system. Put in place to control the movements of heavy vehicles like trucks, the cameras have recently expanded to monitor the everyday motorist.

The Safe-T-Cams, which have license plate recognition capabilities, have begun to scan cars for unregistered and unsafe vehicles, in an effort to make roads safer, and to seek out stolen vehicles. The cameras likely use video analytics, making the recovery of stolen vehicles much easier and effective than before. When a vehicle is stolen, the plate could be added to a national database which is used by the cameras to scan the roads. If the thief unwittingly takes the car out on the road, the cameras would observe the car in just a matter of time, allowing police to act accordingly.

The Safe-T-Cam program has issued over 400 citations in New South Wales this year alone.

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