Cape Town Traffic vehicles have been fitted with the roving Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system to help identify cloned or duplicate licence plates, which are a growing concern in the city.
The technology is also able to assist officers with a number of enforcement-related tasks, like tracking motorists with outstanding warrants.
The technology allows the traffic service to scan the licence plates of vehicles around them while in transit.
“These ANPR-equipped vehicles mean fewer traffic stops and focusing instead on those vehicles that are flagged by the system.
“It also helps with identifying cloned or duplicate licence plates, which are a growing concern, outstanding summonses and outstanding warrants,” MMC for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement.
The city said in the past two months, the traffic service received 445 complaints about duplicated number plates. Of these, 203 cases have been finalised, with the remainder still under investigation.
Smith said many motorists have had the unfortunate experience of an administrative nightmare because someone else was using the same licence plate and racking up fines or committing a crime.
The city said already in use are hand-held devices, linked to an application, that allow officers to expedite the issuing of fines by collating the information electronically.
The devices can also scan a licence plate or the vehicle disc, immediately indicating the status of the vehicle and whether there are fines linked to the licence plate.
‘The ANPR technology allows us to detect whether the licence plate matches the vehicle, and if not, officers are able to stop the driver, escort the vehicle to the traffic department, and investigate the circumstances to determine whether it is an accidental duplication of plates, or something more sinister,’ added Smith.
The city said the traffic service records thousands of transgressions on a weekly basis.
Between July 1 2020 and June 30 2021 officers made:
— 1,930 arrests for drunk driving and reckless and negligent driving
— impounded 6,688 public transport vehicles
— impounded 3,043 cellphones
— recorded more than 2.6-million offences
“Sadly, many of the fines for these offences go unpaid for various reasons, which in turn results in large numbers of warrants of arrest,” Smith said.
He said technology like the ANPR cameras is useful in tracking down those who flout the law.
“We have a culture of nonpayment and disregard for law and order, and holding people accountable for their actions is one way of ensuring improved behaviour on our roads, and saving lives,” Smith said.