To help prevent collisions, motorists are required by law to move into the next lane if possible when approaching an emergency vehicle that's stopped on the side of the road with flashing lights. But not everyone follows this rule. And law enforcement officers die because of it. One company has developed a system to seamlessly document violations and hopefully make officers safer in the process.
Brekford Traffic Safety's Argos Guardian Move Over Camera is designed to mount to an officer's vehicle and turn on automatically when the patrol car is stopped and emergency lights are flashing. Once activated, it will record 180-degree video of move-over violations and capture still images of the rear of the vehicle and its license plate while an officer is conducting traffic stops. It will index and save all data and transfer it securely via the cloud. The agency can then use the collected evidence to issue warnings and citations.
"The concept is to provide a solution to law enforcement for move-over laws now enforced in all 50 states," says Brekford President and COO Rod Hillman.
Law enforcement agencies that use Brekford's other automated traffic safety solutions spurred the development of this system, which is still being field tested and fine-tuned. The device is expected to be available for purchase in July. So far response has been extremely positive, especially because it has built-in ALPR, which Brekford is licensing. This provides capability for hotlist matching and historical information related to the vehicles. Being able to combine these functions with the Move Over Camera device is appealing, and the company hopes to build on this principle.
The self-contained unit mounts flush on the outside rear of a vehicle and plugs in through the trunk in an available power port. It is meant to be easily installed by a technician or IT employee at an agency.
The camera system is also designed for ease of use. It automatically turns on when conditions set by the agency for "move over" violations are met and the video and image evidence is transmitted via 4G or wifi to a "single repository" where all data, including the vehicle's precise GPS coordinates, is processed and stored.
A 7-inch tablet that allows the officer to view violation evidence after the fact using secure authentication is available with the system if the agency chooses. "What we're trying to do is make it so seamless that the officer won't have to really do anything," says Hillman.
Brekford employees review all of the video and supporting data to verify that a violation of the move-over laws has in fact been made. They then send the verified data to the agency, which can then determine if it will issue a warning or citation, or not notify the driver at all.
Because this technology is so new, state laws do not yet exist to cover issuing citations via mail for move-over violations, as they do for speed and red-light camera violations. So for now, the camera system can be used in two ways. The video and license plate information captured by the device can be used to provide backup evidence for local officers when they pull someone over. It can also be used for a warnings program targeted at those committing the violation, with warnings sent in the mail to expand awareness. Brekford's citation management software can customize the look of the warning for an agency and issue warnings based on specific locations or more randomly.
The Argos Guardian Move Over Camera will be available through a monthly subscription, with no upfront cost to purchase the device or software and no contract. "Our belief is if we build and provide a product that is an excellent tool, there will be no need [for a contract because] they won't want to return it," says Hillman.