Saskatchewan police are teaming up with SGI this month to crack down on expired licence plates and suspended drivers.
“It’s a bigger issue than you might think. In 2016, there were 1,800 drivers who were convicted of criminal code charges for driving while disqualified,” said SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy.
He added that more than 9,000 vehicles are flagged annually for driving with invalid plates.
“If you are in an accident and you don’t have a valid license or valid insurance, then you could be potentially on the hook for thousands of dollars in costs resulting from that collision,” warned McMurchy.
A fine for driving an unregistered vehicle is $580, plus a demerit point.
The consequences for driving while disqualified could involve criminal code charges, including fines, jail time and the driver having their vehicle impounded.
To detect these violations, police are using automated licence plate readers (ALPRs), which take photos of the plate and the associated vehicle.
“If it gives me an unregistered vehicle hit or a suspended hit, what we have to do then is usually run the licence plate or the person that’s suspended through (the Canadian Police Information Centre) or SGI to verify if that suspension is accurate … from there, we stop the car,” explained Const. Curtis Warnar of the Regina Police Service’s Traffic Safety Unit.
He added that ALPRs scan between 5,000 to 6,000 plates and detect upwards of 200 violations each 12-hour shift.
The readers are also capable of tracking down both stolen and amber alert vehicles via the license plate numbers.
The Regina Police Service currently has two cruisers equipped with ALPRs and plan to invest in a third within the next few weeks.
SGI has funded ALPRs in 59 patrol vehicles across the province since 2008.