10/11/2005Europe Expands Ticketing Technologies
European countries are co-ordinating the development of new automatic citation technologies for a number of new offenses.
European officials are combining efforts to develop an unprecedented capacity to issue tickets and collect revenue from motorists without the intervention of a human being. To make this happen, the European Commission is devoting $950,000 to develop technology that will allow officials to track drivers electronically, without having to rely on existing optical character recognition systems that can be subject to error. Similar to transponders used in EZ-Pass toll systems, electronic vehicle identification number systems will broadcast a the identity of car owners to sensors, ensuring no driver escapes notice because, for example, his license plate is dirty.
Britain, France, Holland, Belgium and Norway are leading the development of electronic VIN tag technology. These countries see mandatory electronic tags as essential to a satellite based tax on every mile driven. Another proposal would link the devices to the engine control system allowing police to immobilize any car at will. A Texas state representative has introduced a bill proposing electronic ID tags on all Texas automobiles.
If the transponders are installed in every car, the Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras currently being deployed to every UK police force won't go to waste. North Wales police have suggested that they would use facial recognition software on the devices to scan every passing driver and stop those who look like a criminal, even though some officers have questioned the accuracy of even the device's plate scanning function.
European freeways of the future could see sensor-packed gantries that constantly monitor all lanes of traffic. Holland and Israel are testing systems that will automatically issue a ticket to drivers not wearing a seatbelt as well as those the machine determines are tailgating. Italy is working on cameras linked to road sensors that can automatically issue tickets for illegal passing.
European Union officials also expect to make eCall, a wireless telephone system, mandatory in all vehicles by 2009. Among its initial uses, the device would automatically dial police in the event of a crash.