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New South Florida license plate scanners crack down on parking scofflaws

6:02 PM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
Gtechna is one company that sells license plate-recognition cameras and predicts big growth in coming years.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- If you routinely park where you shouldn't, be prepared to get the boot as a result of new camera technology coming to Florida.

Several cities in South Florida are considering using powerful new cameras that can scan 1,800 license plates a minute and immediately determine if you have unpaid parking tickets.

If so, traffic cops will put a boot on your car until the bill is paid.

Fort Lauderdale tested the equipment and discovered it was much more effective than the current system of finding parking scofflaws.

Spokesman Chaz Adams said the city is moving ahead with a proposal to create two parking enforcement teams that would have cameras mounted on their vehicles.

"If the camera identifies a vehicle that is on our repeat offender list, it automatically takes a photo of that vehicle and pulls up a complete vehicle history, which would then be at the parking enforcement specialists' fingertips. They can then look over that history, make sure everything looks OK and then they have the ability to immobilize that vehicle right on the spot."

Adams expects the city commission to consider the plan in the next six months.

Some communities are also using these new cameras to scan the license plates of every vehicle that enters or leaves the city to look for stolen cars or drivers wanted for a crime.

So are the cameras another example of Big Brother technology coming soon to your area?

Adams calls it an issue of fairness.

"It's really unfair for the folks that pay their tickets to have these other folks getting away with not paying them."

Adams estimates 80 to 85 percent of drivers pay their parking tickets. Now communities across the country are hoping to take advantage of license-plate recognition technology to catch up with the scofflaws.

Dave Heller

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