Tech for Tech’s Sake


Tech for Tech’s Sake

I go into a parking lot and it is pay by plate.  I enter my plate number, pay the requisite amount, and then proceed about my business. Two weeks later I receive a citation in the mail. How can that happen?

It happened because I entered an “l” instead of a “1” and a “0” instead of an “o”. When the LPR system scanned my license number, it got a reject and voila, I got a ticket. It was my fault, kinda. Now what?

I complain. Go to a hearing, get the citation reversed. And have caused havoc for the enforcement folks, the hearing officer, and just about everyone else. Not to mention my own peace of mind. All because of that wonderful technology.

Over at the IPMI forum Mark Lyons has been getting a lot of input when he posted this issue. Virtually all of them have to do with ‘fuzzy logic” and setting the LPR systems innards to help sort out the missed inputs. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with Mark. His comment caught my eye:

Aside from posting signs, messages, printed material and instructions, what else are some organizations doing to mitigate the violation resulting from inputting the wrong license plate number.  Our appeals have gone up dramatically, as have the reduction of fines converted to a warning because of this problem. Maybe at some point we get hard on this requirement, but for now there is little political will to support that notion.

So let’s see…We have a tech issue. At least that’s how I see it. And we, as an industry, are looking to ‘get hard’ with our customers because they simply make a common error. And one wonders why they dislike us so much.

I’m afraid I don’t have much of an answer to this one. Perhaps allowing the driver in this case to send their ‘proof’ in by mail and then handling it outside of the appeals process. If its obviously an input error, dump it. If not, throw it into the appeals process.

Maybe LPR isn’t the best solution for this enforcement issue.

Isn’t technology wonderful…


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Technology is a great tool. But it will / should never replace the human touch. Simple policies should be in place to handle situations like this. In this case, the enforcement officer certainly should have recognized that it was an input error and should issue a warning instead, reminding the motorist that their plate has an O, not a 0, and that next time they will receive a citation

    This simple policy ensures that you still have accountability for your enforcement officers (something was done with this alert), educates the driver and no citation will be issued in the first place, forcing someone to cause havoc.

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