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Kent County Council introduces program to penalise bad drivers

By Mathilda Bartholomew | March 14, 2024

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Drivers engaging in behaviours like driving in bus lanes, ignoring no entry signs, or blocking yellow box junctions could face fines of up to £70

Kent County Council introduces program to penalise bad drivers

Kent County Council is rolling out a new scheme aimed at tackling bad driving habits in the region. Under this initiative, drivers engaging in behaviours like driving in bus lanes, ignoring no entry signs, or blocking yellow box junctions could face fines of up to £70.

The scheme offers a grace period for first-time offenders within the initial six months. Additionally, drivers can benefit from a 50% reduction in fines if paid within three weeks.

To enforce these measures, new cameras equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology will be installed across the county. This technology enables the capture of illegal activities, with data processed by the council's Transport Cabinet Committee, which will issue fines accordingly.

Expected to launch in spring 2024, the scheme's primary objective, according to Sean Holden, Chairman of the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee, is to modify driver behavior rather than generate revenue for the council.

What is ANPR, and how will it help catch bad drivers in Kent?

ANPR, short for Automatic Number Plate Recognition, utilises optical character recognition cameras to read vehicle registration plates alongside vehicle location data. These cameras are instrumental in identifying drivers who violate traffic laws, such as traveling in bus lanes or obstructing junctions.

ANPR technology is employed nationwide for various purposes, including traffic management, electronic toll collection, and parking enforcement. Data and images captured by ANPR cameras are stored in a database accessible to councils and law enforcement agencies, facilitating the issuance of fines.

A document from the Kent County Council read: "Once the ANPR camera has registered a contravention, the back-office system processes the information and identifies whether the vehicle is on an allowed list.

"This is a list of the registration plates of authorised vehicles, in which case no further action is taken.

"If the plate is not on the allowed list, the system sends the captured evidence for review. At this stage, a member of the team assesses the evidence to establish if a contravention has occurred.

"If it has, the case progresses to issue a warning notice or PCN. If the evidence shows otherwise, for example, a car pulls into a bus lane to enable a police car to pass, the case is cancelled, and no further action is taken."

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