NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, there are now 2.4 million blue license plates on the road.
While many motorists like the aesthetics, some law enforcement agencies are still dissatisfied with how LPR cameras see the new plates at night.
An ongoing News 2 investigation revealed that the state’s new blue plate lacks sufficient reflectivity to be seen by many LPR cameras that use different frequencies of invisible infrared light to see the tags.
One law enforcement source recently sent News 2 multiple images that show what the camera is documenting as blue plates driving past an LPR camera at night in an undisclosed neighborhood association.
The blue plates are practically unreadable.
The officer told News 2, an officer would never know if these tags were on the back of cars driven by a bad guy. And the official added that makes a police officer’s job even more dangerous.
“Man it’s tough,” said Kendell Poole, a national highway safety consultant who works with states, organizations, and corporations. “Law enforcement needs every tool they can get today.”
Poole served as the Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office for 10 years under Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam. He said his sources have also heard the grumblings of law officers about poor LPR readability. “Law enforcement needs every tool they can get, like LPR, to keep our communities safe.”
When told that some law officers say the readability is also a safety issue, Poole said, “Well, it’s tragic, we need every tool to keep our community safe. The reflectivity issue is obviously an issue. We’ve got to be able to resolve that, to get everyone to the table to resolve it. We don’t know what has happened in the interim between the time we haven’t been able to read the plates and now. We don’t need to make it tougher on them, they already have a tough, tough job.”
News 2 has checked with the State Department of Revenue. Officials say they have no intention of doing anything different as it relates to the blue plate design and LPR readability flaw. The state confirms they’ve already made 3.3 million plates with the intention of sending out 5.5. million by the end of the year.
News 2 contacted Flock Safety, one of the leading LPR vendors. A spokesperson says, “We have made significant changes to the machine learning that have improved readability of the Tennessee plates.”