The Queensland Government has introduced automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to target unlicensed and unregistered drivers, specifically over the Easter break, following a 12-month trial.
Police minister Neil Roberts announced the initiative and said the driving factor behind the implementation was that unlicensed and unregistered motorists were three times more likely to be involved in a traffic crash.
"It is these offences that can be targeted by ANPR technology,” Roberts said in a statement.
"The Queensland Police Service undertook a 12-month trial of the new technology, which was then evaluated by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland [CARRS-Q].
"CARRS-Q's evaluation found that ANPR technology is of benefit for use in road traffic operations and proved it was useful in targeting offences that are detrimental to road safety."
A spokesperson for the minister’s office told Computerworld Australia the technology worked by scanning licence plates and then matching the number to a database to establish whether the vehicle is registered, or whether the likely driver has a valid licence.
“It’s attached to the back of a marked police vehicle, it will primarily be working in the south-east corner of Queensland over the Easter break, police may choose to move it around to other regions in the state in the coming weeks and months, and as more units come online we will have them in other regions across the state,” the spokesperson said.
According to Roberts, the initial ANPR unit had been purchased while the government is in the process of purchasing an additional 10-12 units with the aim to have one in every police region across the state by mid-2012.
The start of the Easter school holiday period would see an increase in traffic on the roads, Roberts said, as Queenslanders use the time to travel.
"Last year 11 people lost their lives in road crashes during the Easter school holiday period - two during the traditional Easter long weekend," he said.
"The government, police and emergency services agencies strongly urge motorists to take every precaution possible and survive their drive this Easter."
In November, the Queensland Police Service [[artnid:366356|called for tenders for the project with the aim to transform police officers’ operating environment into a more mobile space. It also upgraded 2600 vehicles with cameras to enable them to capture and record both digital images and voice data to aide in the collection of evidence to support activities and prosecutions.
The state of Victoria also recently used the ANPR technology to target unlicensed and unregistered drivers, deploying 10 across the state as part of its major statewide Christmas road blitz, Operation AEGIS.
Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU