AP NEWS

Bill aims to regulate use of data from license plate readers

February 28, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation that would regulate how information captured by automated license plate readers as vehicles enter the state is retained and distributed.

The bill requires that individual data collected by the Corporation Commission be exempt from the Open Records Act, which grants citizens unrestricted access to public records, The Oklahoman reported.

The measure would allow the collected data to be published and released but it would not authorize revealing the activities or identifying specific vehicles or carriers. Other agencies would be allowed to use the information for law enforcement and regulatory activities.

“It’s to allow them the ability to use the license plate readers and to allow them access to the (Department of Public Safety) information database,” said state Rep. Ross Ford.

As a commercial vehicle approaches a weigh station, the readers scan the license plate and verify licensing details, Ford added. If the data isn’t accessible, the driver must then stop at the weigh station.

The state only keeps images of license plates attached to heavier commercial vehicles, semi-trucks and trailers. The reader system does not collect other information, such as the details of license plates from non-commercial vehicles.

Matt Skinner, spokesman for the Corporation Commission, said the system saves a substantial amount of time for truckers as they drive through ports of entry, and past weigh stations.

“The real beauty of it is it speeds things up for trucks enormously. It used to be back in the day, you’d see long lines of truckers backed up at those tiny weigh stations, so much that it was dangerous,” Skinner said. “Now, many trucks don’t even need to stop.”

The House Transportation Committee passed the proposal Wednesday. Rep. Roger Ford’s sponsored bill can now be heard on the House floor.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com