UNAUTHORISED drivers in the Geelong area will find it much harder to flout the law now a Highway Patrol car equipped with Victoria Police’s new automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR) has hit the road.
The technology allows police to detect drivers who are suspended, disqualified or unlicensed, unregistered and stolen vehicles and stolen number plates.
The BMW M5 530D is one of 221 units that will be equipped with ANPR across the state over the next two years.
Geelong Highway Patrol officers began patrols in the car on June 3.
ANPR scans number plates and matches them against a database of vehicles of interest.
In a five-hour period on June 5, the car scanned about 1,700 vehicles and came up with 31 matches.
Road policing command Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said the technology would make it much easier to detect and remove people who should not be on the roads.
“Unauthorised road users pose a significant threat to themselves and others.
“A study of fatal collisions in 2016 found that unauthorised drivers were at fault in 16 per cent of them.
“The same study found that around one in five injury collisions involving an unregistered vehicle also involved an unauthorised driver.
“These drivers have no right to be behind the wheel, either because of their previous unsafe behaviour or because they are unlicensed.
“We’re determined to detect them and get them off our roads, and ANPR is a big step forward in that effort.
“The system will allow us to scan around 5,000 numberplates per shift, which is a huge increase on what our officers are able to do manually.”
The cars are also fitted with in-car video to record audio and visual evidence that can be used in court.
Victoria Police hopes that public awareness of the video system will enhance officer safety by deterring and de-escalating potential incidents.