Personalised number plates help drivers dodge speeding fines

So-called SPECS speed cameras, which calculate motorists' average speed between two points, cannot cope with personalised number plates. That's according to the Mediahuis group. This is a problem, because it allows drivers with a special number plate to escape speeding fines.

Belgian motorists have to come up 1,000 euros if they want a personal number plate. Some 10,000 car owners have bought one. It turns out that they hardly received any speeding fines (related to SPECS checks) since last April, or none at all.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) admits that the specific ANPR cameras used for SPECS checks can't recognise special plates. "It has been programmed to recognise various types of number plates, such as standard number plates in Belgium and various other European countries."

Peter Bruyninckx of the Road Traffic Agency 'Wegen en Verkeer' told the VRT that it's not easy to adapt the present system. It's a really complicated, technical matter, he said. If the filter is changed in order to allow the camera to read more, than it's possible that all kinds of things will be read and end up in the data base that are useless, such as publicity slogans or other letters.