Paper fines will go the way of the dinosaur thanks to new technologies, Source: Depositphotos

Hamburg’s plan to quickly fine illegally parked cars pauses due to privacy concerns

Hamburg’s plan to quickly fine illegally parked cars pauses due to privacy concerns

The methodology is similar to street mapping cars and is already in use in other European cities

Badly or illegally parked cars are a plague for urban authorities everywhere. The City of Hamburg has decided to implement a technology that promises to solve the issue by using special scanning cars that snap pictures of license plates as they drive by, allowing for an almost immediately issued digital fine to the car owner.

That solution, however, has hit a snag in the higher echelons of government, namely the Federal Ministry of Transport, due to concerns about privacy. The local draft law has thus been returned to the city government of Hamburg for more clarifications regarding data protection. These types of camera cars are only legal under federal law.

The final assessment will only be ready next year, even though the Hamburg City Council was hoping to be able to implement the automatic fine system already this year.

Benefits of the automatic fine system

The scanning car method has already been successfully introduced in many other European cities, such as Paris, Warsaw and Rotterdam, thus serving as a good example to emulate for Hamburg.

For one, it would relieve the 140 employees of the State Office for Traffic from their long foot control routes.

The way it works is that a car with a camera on its roof scans the license plates of parked vehicles and automatically sends them for verification in a digital system that keeps data on paid parking fees and resident’s parking licenses. If a plate number is missing from the database, a fine is automatically issued and sent to the vehicle owner.

In Paris, for instance, 17 such cars are circulating the streets. The result has been an improved collection of fines as well as a freeing up of parking spaces in the French capital as drivers have started regulating their behaviour knowing that the digital eye of the camera will be unavoidable.



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