The full-time team operating ACT Policing’s number plate recognition system RAPID (Recognition and Analysis of Plates IDentified) has racked up one year in active service on ACT roads, reading over 856743 plates and quickly emerging as a major asset in the ongoing effort to reduce collisions and road trauma.
Over the financial year 2010-11, the six-person team has identified 1772 unregistered vehicles, and 780 vehicles without CTP (compulsory third party) insurance, as well as 474 unlicensed, 57 disqualified, and 148 suspended drivers.
Working in cooperation with ACT Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) inspectors, the RAPID team also identified 1213 defective vehicles.
In total, the RAPID team issued 4858 Traffic Infringement Notices (TIN’s) in its first full year of operation.
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The Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Sergeant Jeff Knight, said that RAPID had proved itself as a first-rate asset to ACT road safety by identifying drivers who pose the greatest risk to others.
“We know that those drivers who do not pay their vehicle registration or CTP insurance, or continue to drive whilst unlicensed or disqualified, are risk-takers on our roads and are more likely to be involved in a serious collision,” Sergeant Knight said.
“In the financial year 2009-2010, we had 20 collisions involving fatalities. Seven of those fatalities – nearly one third – involved an unlicensed driver or an unregistered vehicle.
“In this financial year (2010-11), only one unlicensed driver on one unregistered vehicle – a quad bike – was involved in a fatal collision. And that particular collision occurred on a rural dirt road where RAPID does not operate.”
Sergeant Knight said that collisions with injury had also fallen markedly over the same period.
“Comparing the financial year 2009-10 with the 12 months just concluded, collisions with injury have fallen by 8 per cent,” Sergeant Knight said.
“There are major flow-on benefits for the territory and the community from this reduction in road trauma. Aside from the reduced pain and suffering for the victims and their families, fewer road crashes means less pressure on the hospitals, lower compensation payouts and less overall demand on government services.”
The RAPID team received dedicated funding from the ACT Government in the May 2010 Budget. A three-car RAPID team was then quickly established, operating on a full-time roster.