9/1/2006Arizona Plans to Install Roadside Motorist Tracking Cameras
Automated plate readers installed on Arizona highways would track the movement of motorists.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety is considering installing roadside automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras that will record the time and date an individual motorist moves along the highway. Already, six state police cars already are equipped with mobile versions of the technology to scan passing motorists. The stated purpose of the devices is to find stolen vehicles, but in practice the technology has been used in Connecticut, Virginia and the UK to locate individuals that can be ticketed for the most minor of violations and generate millions in revenue.
Arlington, Virginia uses its version of the technology to confiscate license plates from anyone with an overdue library book. New Haven, Connecticut towed a woman's car out of her own driveway using the camera because she owed just $85 in unpaid parking tickets. A 2004 test of ANPR cameras in the UK resulted in 51,000 citations for offenses including failure to wear a seatbelt and drinking from a bottle of water while driving.
Other states such as Missouri have turned to tracking the individual movements of motorists by tracking cellular telephones without the consent or knowledge of customers.