As a Model Deployment State for CVISN (Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks), Kentucky is valuating and improving its procedures related to commercial vehicle administration and enforcement. As part of this effort, the Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) was asked to investigate the frequency of registration-related violations at Kentucky weigh stations and the potential effectiveness of a license plate recognition (LPR) system in detecting and deterring such violations. Typical violations considered in the investigation included using an expired license plate, hauling weight in excess of the truck’s registered weight, or traveling in Kentucky without proper authority.

KTC researchers first examined Kentucky’s current weigh station procedures.This was followed by collection of weight and license plate data for a five-hour period at the Kenton County weigh station on I-75. Over 1,100 trucks were observed, representing 34 states and 3 Canadian provinces. A total of 67 violations were observed, 52 of which would have gone undetected under current weigh station procedures. The most frequently-observed violations were for exceeding registered weight, no plate, illegible plate, and expired plate.

LPR technology is in widespread use throughout the world, but there have been very few instances of its application to commercial vehicle enforcement activities at weigh stations. Those few efforts have met with little success. Experience has shown that LPR systems are complicated and require high levels of maintenance. Integration with weigh-in-motion (WIM) equipment and appropriate databases have posed significant problems for users.

In time, LPR technology should continue to mature, and necessary national databases, such as the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) database and the Commercial Vehicle Information Exchange Window (CVIEW), should become readily available. With these changes, LPR systems will become a much more attractive option for electronic identification of commercial vehicles. Until then,interim measures should be considered, such as a video monitoring system on the weigh station ramp to allow enforcement personnel to detect vehicles with illegible or missing plates.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky nor of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.