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Automated licence plate readers help Saskatchewan police crackdown on suspended drivers

ALPRs help locate suspended drivers and unregistered vehicles. Troy Charles/Global News

There are over 800,000 people in the Saskatchewan with a driver’s licence.

On any given day around 60,000 of those people are suspended from driving.

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Drivers can be suspended for driving impaired and other unsafe driving behaviours, including missing required driver education classes, or because they have a medical issue that affects their ability to drive.

To help catch those who do decide to drive with a suspended licence or unregistered vehicle, police use Automated Licence Plate Readers (ALPRs).

ALPRs the cameras can flag one plate per second. Troy Charles/Global News

There are 185 ALPRs installed in law enforcement vehicles across the province. The cameras can flag one plate per second.

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Last year police caught 2,000 people driving while suspended.

That means their car is impounded for a minimum of a month and they are headed back to court.

Tyler McMurchy is with SGI, in April they along with law enforcement are shining a traffic safety spotlight on suspended drivers and unregistered vehicles.

McMurchy says there are some pretty significant consequences for driving with a suspended licence.

“Not only is your vehicle going to be impounded for a minimum of a month, depending on what originally got you suspended in the first place and the outcome of the court proceedings you’re looking at an expensive fine or driving prohibitions you may even end up with some jail time if there is a criminal code violation with that driving suspension,” McMurchy said.

Getting caught driving an unregistered vehicle will result in a $580 fine and could lead to vehicle impoundment.

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An unregistered vehicle also runs the risk of being an uninsured vehicle.

“When someone drives with a suspended licence or in an unregistered vehicle they may not have insurance coverage if they cause a collision,” said Penny McCune, chief operating officer of the Auto Fund.

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“Uninsured drivers can find themselves on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars resulting from damages and injury benefits to the other people involved.”

Global News was invited for a ride along with Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan to see the ALPRs in action.

Cst. Bowes explains the many features of ALPRs. Troy Charles/Global News

During the ride the plate reader flagged an unregistered driver and Constable Kevin Bowes handed out a fine of $580.

Bowes says they are helping the public’s wallet by keeping these violators off the road.

“People come up and ask us what the cameras are on the roof and when we explain the system they overwhelmingly say that’s a good idea,” Bowes said.

“They don’t want suspended drivers on the road who aren’t insured. They don’t want vehicles on the road that aren’t insured.”

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