OPP ALPR Vehicles Hit the Road in Northumberland County During “Safe Travels 401”

In Editor Choice, Local, Police Blotter

It was day two for “Safe Travels 401″ throughout Northumberland County on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Throughout the day, officers spanned across 70 kilometres of Highway 401 that stretches across the highway focussing on impaired driving, speeding, cell phone use along with others.

Acting Sgt. Rob Simpson gave Today’s Northumberland a look at the new technology that will eventually be installed in approximately 1,200 frontline OPP vehicles.

The OPP Automatic License Plate Recognition is able to scan the license plates of passing vehicles and determine things like if plates that belong to a driver with a suspended license, if plates associated with stolen vehicles or that are reported stolen or missing, if plates that have been suspended, if plates with expired validation tags and if plates associated with persons with outstanding Canada-wide warrants or who are reported missing

There are also three cameras mounted on the outside and inside of the police cruiser.

One officer using the ALPR on Saturday issued 16tickets and gave out seven warnings before 2 p.m.

In less than seconds the devices reads every license plate in the area it can pick up and scans for discrepancies.

When it finds one, it highlights the license plate to the computer in the cruiser indicating what the infraction is.

The ALPR device works so good, that it took one officer approximately an hour to get to Port Hope as there were so many “hits” from the ALPR.

As soon as he was done with one driver, before he got back on the road, the ALPR would activate on another vehicle.

“The thing to remember with a system like this, is the ALPR system is constantly running plates,” said Simpson.

“So you and I can read a couple of plates as they go by, if our eyesight is good and it’s a nice clear day and the plates are clean – this system is running them constantly.”

On Saturday, officers took at least two suspended drivers off the highway and issued numerous tickets using the ALPR along with other speed monitoring devices.

“This isn’t even, you forget to renew your license which is very important, this was a suspended driver.”

One driver didn’t seem to get the message with the first ticket in Cobourg for speeding, so officers charged him a second time with speeding (134 kph) while driving along Highway 401 near Brighton.

Simpson has been stating through social media for the past week, that the event will be happening, so on Saturday.

“If you were just stopped 30-minutes down the highway, I think it would be fresh in your mind.”

‘It’s not an April Fool’s joke – it’s real.”

Simpson said they’ve been using the hastag #beabetterdriver.

“That’s a great example – use the first opportunity as a learning opportunity to become a better driver.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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