OPP First in Ontario to Target Suspended Drivers Through Enhanced Licence Plate Recognition Program

Expect to See More Eyes on the Road and Fewer Suspended Drivers Says OPP 

ORILLIA, ON, Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Driving with a suspended licence is about to get much riskier for drivers as the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) become the first police service in Ontario and one of the first in Canada to target suspended drivers with their Licence Plate Recognition Program (ALPR).

The OPP is also expanding its ALPR program to include an additional 27 ALPR equipped vehicles to its existing fleet of four which, according to the OPP, will make it more difficult for suspended drivers, drivers of stolen vehicles and other vehicles with plates in poor standing to drive undetected on Ontario roads and highways.

QUOTES

"Thanks to our continued partnership with the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) and the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC), our roads will be much safer now that we have the resources to remove the threat that suspended drivers pose to all road users.  The additional 27 vehicles will allow us to scan thousands more plates every day over a broader geographic range in the province." - OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

"Our partnerships with the OPP and all our road safety partners have allowed us to lead the way with some of the most advanced road safety programs, tough laws and strong enforcement. This is why Ontario is a North American leader in road safety." The Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure.

"Ontario motorists expect to be protected from unsafe drivers, but also not to be tracked as they go about their daily lives. We are pleased to report that the OPP used a Privacy by Design approach in developing its Automatic License Plate Recognition system, and that when a scanned license plate does not match the list of unsafe drivers, it will be deleted from the system within minutes." - Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, Canada.

QUICK FACTS

Approximately 250,000 Highway Traffic Act licence suspensions are issued annually in Ontario.

OPP ALPR vehicles now have access to an MTO database that contains all Ontario licence plates of vehicles whose registered owners' driver's licences are suspended.

LINKS

Click on the following video to watch an OPP ALPR equipped vehicle detect and pursue a suspended driver: http://www.opp.ca/media/alpr/alpr-newsstory.wmv

Backgrounder

For media: 

B-Roll:  http://www.opp.ca/media/alpr/alpr-broll.wmv

Backgrounder

  • Through its continued partnership with the Ministry of Transportation  (MTO, OPP Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) equipped  vehicles now have access to an MTO database that contains all  Ontario licence plates of vehicles whose registered owners' driver's  licences are suspended.

  • Approximately 250,000 licence suspensions are issued annually in Ontario for Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and Criminal Code infractions.

  • Suspended drivers pose a threat to public safety with an estimated 2.3 per cent of fatal motor vehicle collisions being attributable to motorists who drive while their licences are under suspension.

  • When ALPR cameras produce a "hit" on a suspended driver and the  driver is found to have a suspended licence for a Criminal Code conviction, officers will immediately have the vehicle towed to an  impound facility for a minimum of 45 days. If the suspension is for an  HTA offence, the vehicle immediately gets towed to an impound facility for seven days.

  • With the OPP's expansion of its ALPR program, they are now able to target:
    • plates on vehicles that are registered to suspended drivers
    • plates associated with stolen vehicles
    • plates reported stolen or missing
    • plates with expired validation tags
    • plates that have been suspended
    • unissued plates reported stolen
    • missing stock or spoiled plates never issued

  • Currently, the OPP receives from MTO and Canadian Police Information Centre a data file that contains approximately six million licence plates in poor standing over a four-year historical period; with the new file of suspended drivers, it is anticipated that an additional two million plates will be added to the ALPR database
  • The OPP only retains ALPR records for scanned plates that match the hot list and these are stored for evidentiary purposes. Data for plates that do not generate a hit are automatically deleted from the ALPR vehicle system daily and the OPP ALPR server every 10 minutes.

NEW OPP ALPR VEHICLES

  • As part of the OPP's ALPR Program expansion, the OPP is adding 27 ALPR equipped vehicles to its existing fleet of four.

  • The 27 additional ALPR equipped vehicles will enable the OPP to detect thousands more licence plates in poor standing every day over a broader geographic range in Ontario.

  • Eight of the 27 new ALPR equipped vehicles are being deployed in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the remaining vehicles will be distributed provincially, moving between detachment areas as needed.

  • The new ALPR vehicles will be deployed beginning in December, 2013 with completion in January, 2014.

AUTOMATIC LICENCE PLATE RECOGNITION

  • Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) was first developed by the United Kingdom and was introduced in Ontario for use by the 407 Toll Highway and Canadian Border Security Services.

  • The benefits of ALPR technology to policing and road safety have been measured around the world and include enhanced officer safety, increased arrests of criminals and removal of high risk vehicles (i.e. stolen) from highways, thereby enhancing public safety.

  • The basis of this technology is the use of a camera mounted in the front and/or rear of a police vehicle.  The camera has outstanding image capture capability and can scan opposing or approaching vehicle licence plates, capturing the plate's image then recognizing and automatically querying the plate against a "hotlist" that consists of an in-car computer and database.

  • A hotlist is a list of licence plates in poor standing that is downloaded daily into the police vehicle's on-board computer and when a plate is scanned, it is checked against the hotlist.
  • The ALPR 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.

  • The system operates in silent mode.  When a scan identifies a hit, the system gives an audible signal to the officer and displays the plate and the vehicle image on the computer screen. The officer can quickly identify the vehicle and take appropriate action.

  • The number of plates ALPR can scan per hour depends on factors such as traffic volumes, however, in a high volume traffic situation the ALPR system is capable of scanning approximately 3,600 plates per hour.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information:

Contact:  Harry Alkema, Project Manager   
Communications & Technology Services Bureau

Phone:  (705) 329-6286