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RAPID results

By johnboy - 5 July 2011 53

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.

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.

[Courtesy ACT Policing]

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53 Responses to
RAPID results
niftydog 2:34 pm 05 Jul 11

Would be cool if this could identify make and model and find stolen cars before they’re even reported!

ConanOfCooma said :

…they’ve gone through everyone at least once…

Not necessarily.

SammyLivesHere said :

I understand it is the ACT Government that pays your medicals…

qué? Third party insurance providers pay, not the Government. In the case of unregistered drivers, sometimes the insurer will pay at their discretion and seek to reclaim the cost from the offender. Otherwise, it becomes a civil matter for the courts.

fernandof said :

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position… you can easily cross-reference people to their location.

No, you can cross reference people to the whereabouts of the car the have registered under their name. It’s obvious what you say is indeed possible, but I’m still struggling to see the nefariousness in this. In fact, sounds to me like a fantastic way to execute arrest warrants!

alaninoz 2:21 pm 05 Jul 11

Kayellar said :

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

I guess it depends on what happens to the records of the innocent drivers. No problem if those records are destroyed if no offence is found. If they are kept, though, then the right of innocent citizens to go about their business without government monitoring is being infringed. I don’t know what actually happens to the records so I can’t judge where the balance lies.

fernandof 2:13 pm 05 Jul 11

Kayellar said :

fernandof said :

I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

The privacy issues here are around harvesting rego & position, i.e., if you submit the identified regos to a system, and assuming you know where you’ve captured them from (GPS of the patrol car, or the officer manually submitting the patrol car position), you can easily cross-reference people to their location. That, in my opinion, is quite a concerning privacy issue which the system can fully support.

The stuff you write about driving illegally has nothing to do with the privacy concerns: the system collects regos, all regos, both of legal & illegal drivers. The question is what do you do with that data. From this article, we know the system cross-references the rego to driver licences and spits out offending drivers, but there’s no technical constraint preventing the police / other agency from harvesting all the captured regos for later use.

This ability to pin-point the location of people is something that would have been extremely difficult without the usage of such an automated system. It’s this new ability that concerns me. However, as I said before, in this case I think it’s a risk worth taking, in other words I think the benefits we get from this system are greater then the privacy concerns.

SammyLivesHere 2:12 pm 05 Jul 11

The article referred to : “reading over 856743 plates and quickly”.

Of course they are going to have scan, rescan and scan again everyone’s plates. Why? Cause one month we are ‘in rego’ and the next we may have not renewed, decided it was too expensive and not paid, etc. Plate recognition is a great – I just hope they are automatically issue tickets on this system as well.

Car users sign a contract when they get in their cars, (1) they will make sure their car is road worthy (2) they will pay the appropriate fees and charges determined to up keep roads and staff to maintain the roads (3) they will stick to the designated speed limits [or get a racing car]; and (4) try not to drive so as to injure themselves or others!

alaninoz 2:11 pm 05 Jul 11

ConanOfCooma said :

So they’ve scanned nearly a million plates?

I didn’t think there were that many cars in Canberra. Either that, or they’ve gone through everyone at least once, and the system is so broken they still didn’t pick up all the law breakers!

Misuse, or ignorance, of statistics on display here. I agree the system is broken, though.

Mothy 2:04 pm 05 Jul 11

Well maybe there have been circa 1 million events of a car passing by a RAPID vehicle, which would include multiple passages by the same vehicle – i.e. 3 times on the GDE between 8 and 9, and I’d count for three of 856,743. Or another way – 856,743 / 365 = 2,347 cars per day (assuming every single day for a year). Anyone want to sit by the side of the GDE or Yarra Glen or *INSERT ARTERIAL ROAD HERE* in the morning and count if they think the number is achievable in one morning peak?

Meanwhile – Using 2009-10 to make your point about reducing fatalities as a result of unregistered vehicles and unlicensed drives is a bit pointless isn’t it? i.e. four of seven fatalities were the Mully-pocalypse, no? Or does that only count as one?

carnardly 2:02 pm 05 Jul 11

and so those that break the laws of the common good – ie get their licence cancelled or suspended just choose to ignore that…. how unusual….

Genie 1:58 pm 05 Jul 11

SammyLivesHere said :

I understand it is the ACT Government that pays your medicals, etc. if you have an accident and are either injured or worse still killed. What happens if you have an accident with someone who hasn’t paid their Registration? Anyone know the consequences of these people being on the road?

It’s NRMA who pay for everything. (3rd party insurance)

If the driver who causes an accident is in an unregistered car. You have to sue them personally for damages and medical expenses.

Kayellar 1:49 pm 05 Jul 11

fernandof said :

I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

What privacy issues here exactly? This is a system doing on moving cars what PC Plod can do on foot, but more efficiently. If you drive a deffective or unregistered car, or drive without a licence, what privacy should you be expecting?

shadow boxer 1:42 pm 05 Jul 11

aaah statistics, someone somewhere has put a lot of time into spinning those figures to their best advantage.

Henry82 1:40 pm 05 Jul 11

ConanOfCooma said :

So they’ve scanned nearly a million plates?

Thats only 2739 a day, assuming they ride in pairs, thats only 913 plates per pair (per day). Say they can scan 2 plates a second on northborne (assuming constant traffic), they only need to be scanning for under 10 minutes (i think my maths is right). Even if they get a car driving past once every 5 seconds, thats just over an hour.

The Frots 1:32 pm 05 Jul 11

Well, butter my buns and call me a biscuit……………………nearly a million, eh?

Hmmm…………think not.

fernandof 1:27 pm 05 Jul 11

Sounds like an extreme positive outcome to the system.

I must confess I have real issues with such system. From one hand I’m very content that the police can do their work faster and much more efficiently, but from the other hand, I’m always concerned that these kind of systems can be reused for other purposes limiting personal privacy.

It’s very hard for me to put the finger where to prefer privacy over law enforcement. I guess I’m OK with this system, but not so much with say, a full array of street cameras a la the London model.

Anyway, back on topic, good job ACT police!

SammyLivesHere 1:24 pm 05 Jul 11

I understand it is the ACT Government that pays your medicals, etc. if you have an accident and are either injured or worse still killed. What happens if you have an accident with someone who hasn’t paid their Registration? Anyone know the consequences of these people being on the road?

ConanOfCooma 1:16 pm 05 Jul 11

So they’ve scanned nearly a million plates?

I didn’t think there were that many cars in Canberra. Either that, or they’ve gone through everyone at least once, and the system is so broken they still didn’t pick up all the law breakers!

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