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Letter: A Problem With Plate Scanners

To the Editor:

The proposal to allow the use of license plate scanners in New Hampshire (Valley News , Dec. 29) gives me pause. New Hampshire may be the only state that does not allow the use of such scanners, but it is also a state that knowingly issues nearly identical vanity license plates to different individuals, as long as the requested plate is a different type.

I discovered this just over a year ago when I received notice from the Columbus, Ohio, police department that I had run a red light and owed $100. Interestingly, on the specified date, I was hard at work in Lebanon, and my car, a convertible, was already hibernating for the winter in my garage. The photo enclosed with the notice showed a car similar to mine (different color, same make), with the identical license plate, except for a minor detail: Mine is a conservation plate, and the guilty party’s plate is a veteran’s plate.

You might think that this could be easily cleared up, but, in fact, it took months of phone calls, letters and finally a letter from the Hanover police chief to convince them that there had been an error. It does not take a great deal of imagination to conjure up a myriad of similar nightmares occurring if plate scanning becomes the norm in New Hampshire. I foresee innocent parties being stopped because they made the mistake of choosing the same vanity plate as someone who is “wanted.” If this change is really so important for our safety that we decide to move forward with plate scanners, we need to first get rid of the duplicate license plates.

Frances Brokaw

Hanover

Related

N.H. Bill Seeks OK For Plate Scanners

Monday, January 13, 2014

Concord — Driving undetected in the Granite State could become more challenging for criminals — and everyone else — should a bill authorizing automated license-plate scanners make its way through the Legislature next year. The bill, which was shelved this spring and is up for a House vote Jan. 8, would allow law-enforcement agencies to use the scanners to collect …