In 2019 alone, speeding killed about 9,478 people. This startling stat makes you wonder what you can do to prevent an accident from occurring, especially when it’s hard to catch someone speeding 

Whether someone is speeding, running through a toll, or another violation, having a license plate reader comes in handy for emergency personnel and law enforcement. But how do they work exactly? Read this guide on how a license plate reader works to decide if it’s right for you today. 

How Does a License Plate Reader Work? 

It’s not just emergency personnel that would be interested in a license plate reader, but businesses too. A license plate reader camera is a great way to install a sense of security in your business. 

These high-speed cameras will take multiple pictures of a license plate. The time and date of the picture, plus the location will also be taken into account. License plate cameras are versatile since they can be placed at traffic lights, exit ramps, and even on telephone poles. 

Data That’s Collected Through License Plate Readers

Some cameras will work along with automated red-light cameras or speed enforcement systems. Data for thousands of plates could be collected every minute.

It’s then uploaded to a central server. Police stations are then able to store this information for up to 12 months. Depending on the state, it could be less than this. 

In Minnesota, they can only hold onto it for 2 months. The only way it’s kept after this is if it’s part of an active investigation. 

In Virginia, some tried to have legislation that would have limited how often law enforcement could keep the data. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, vetoed this because he said limiting it would be a safety risk. The Virginia Legislature also rejected a 60-day limit as well. 

Mobile ALPR Cameras

The FBI states that about $7.4 billion was lost due to motor vehicle theft in 2020. License plate readers allow a fast setup on communications for mobile ALPR cameras to be placed on police cars. Information such as when the car is parked, where, and the time and date will be collected. License plate readers are useful for police to monitor city areas. 

License plate readers can help with crime prevention, highway management, and the recovery of stolen license plates. The good news is that ALPR data won’t be sold to a 3rd party. 

License Plate Recognition Technology

Communication technology experts use this analytic software to capture videos and images of the characters on a license plate. In order to use these, you’ll need to have a large amount of data available. Many systems will provide enough data for this information. 

Are They Allowed in Every State?

This latest technology varies as far as legalities from state to state. There was legislation regarding it in multiple states. A few states passed it a few years ago.

They’re becoming increasingly popular across various states and not just in law enforcement. You can find them in various industries.

In Utah, they realize the benefit of it and one company actually sued Utah’s government for not allowing it. They realize that it’s effective for finding repossessed or stolen vehicles. 

Record Evidence

This advanced technology allows local police to record new evidence. Many companies are following suit and buying license plate reader cameras.

Many are connecting these cameras to the National Crime Information Center in order to receive a notification when a stolen car is in the area. It’s also useful in finding a car whose owner has a warrant out for their arrest. 

Character Segmentation

Character segmentation is what separates and detects the different parts of the license plate. It takes the number on a plate and places it into different numbers and letters. 


After this, it goes through OCR. OCR translates it into alphanumeric text. This text is then used for the algorithm in order to verify the information. 

Once it analyzes the different numbers or letters, the information can then be classified into corresponding classes. What class it’s placed into will depend on the complexity of the license plate reader. 


The main difference between OCR vs AI is the backend software used. This backend software is what identifies the plate. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) uses an innovative approach. An AI software can read and capture the same amount of characters on a plate that a human eye can. It has a high accuracy rate as well. 

Over the years, you’d find OCR as the main technology. It has a high accuracy using high-end hardware for identification. It’s focused on a specific location which could limit the data that’s collected. 

The main difference between these 2 is the cost. It’s critical to be able to maximize a product for your company. 

Understanding How a License Plate Reader Works

After exploring this guide, you should have a better understanding of how a license plate reader works. Go through the different information in order to decide if it’s right for your company or organization. Remember that it’s a great option when you’re looking to identify a violation that occurs when no one is around or can’t write down the plate number fast enough. 

Are you ready to move forward with obtaining a license plate reader for your company? Stop crime in its tracks before it continues. Look no further and contact us today! We specialize in everything from mobile command centers to license plate readers.