Problem drivers on a short leash
- By Brian Robinson
- Sep 03, 2001
People who try to drive on a suspended license will have a much harder time
evading the police if they are sentenced to wear a new wireless device on
A component of Optimus Corp.'s Problem Driver Detection System, the
device beams a coded signal to police cars equipped with a special antenna
and a mobile computer.
The device trips the system in the police car, as long as the offender's
transmitter is within a quarter of a mile or so, and a photo and description
of the offender pop up on the computer, along with a rough geographical
bearing of the transmitter's location.
The system was developed as part of a National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration research project and is being tested by police in Norwalk,
Because the transmitter is coded specifically for each offender, the
police will know instantly that a person's driving has been restricted,
said Wesley Winn, Optimus' director for new business development. That provides
probable cause for the police to stop a car, even if it turns out the offender
is only a passenger.
"With the growing acceptance of using detection technologies at stoplights,
this system could also be used so you could have receivers at fixed locations
as well as in police cars," said Chuck Rodgers, the company's vice president
Optimus is also looking into adding a Global Positioning System function,
Rodgers said, so the precise location of the transmitter would be known.
That could also be useful for providing information to other officials,
such as probation officers.
Under the plan worked out by Optimus, the offenders pay most of the
system's cost. The only cost to the police is the antenna for the patrol
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.