Minister sticks to rego plan

Highway patrol supervisor Sergeant Jodie Hamilton with the mobile automatic number plate recognition system that has made rego stickers obsolete.
Highway patrol supervisor Sergeant Jodie Hamilton with the mobile automatic number plate recognition system that has made rego stickers obsolete. Marc Stapelberg

THE State Government has dismissed fears the number of unregistered cars on the state's roads will jump following the abolition of registration stickers.

The dismissal comes despite revelations only 6% of NSW police vehicles have the number plate recognition devices needed to spot unregistered cars.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced on Thursday plans to dump rego stickers for vehicles weighing less than 4.5 tonnes from 2013.

Inquiries by The Northern Star found only 200 of the more than 3300 police vehicles across the state will be fitted with number plate recognition technology by the time the new regulation comes into effect.

Across the Richmond and Tweed-Byron local area commands, only seven highway patrol vehicles are currently fitted with the technology, but a police spokesman said he expected that number to increase by the end of the year.

The spokesman said the technology would not be needed in all police vehicles.

Motorists travelling across the border into Queensland won't be able to avoid detection either, with 12 Queensland police highway patrol vehicles currently fitted with number plate recognition devices.

Mr Gay said windscreen registration labels, which were introduced in 1932, cost the Roads and Maritime Services $575,000 a year to produce.

Automated number plate recognition devices (ANPR) were introduced in 2005 to target unregistered and stolen vehicles or number plates.

APNR devices optically recognise up to six number plates per second and compare them against the stolen vehicles database and the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority registration database.

Mr Gay warned unregistered and uninsured motorists would be caught by police.

"Despite the abolition of registration labels, current developments in NSW Police and RMS technology will still ensure the present levels of compliance and enforcement are maintained," he said.


Who gets it

200 of NSW Police's 552 highway patrol cars will be fitted with number plate recognition devices next year.

This represents 6% of police vehicles across NSW.

Only 12 Queensland police vehicles are fitted with the technology.

Topics:  cars road state government stickers unregistered

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