Police begin using advanced radar system in East Bohemia

Photo: Honza Ptáček

Czech police have begun using an advanced radar system on a main throughway from Pardubice, East Bohemia, to Moravská Třebová likely to make life uncomfortable for motorists breaking the speed limit. Concealed in a regular police Škoda, the system can easily snap photos of offenders and quickly reference license plates; the police hope it will make a mark.

Photo: Honza Ptáček
According to Czech Radio, the advanced or so-called “intelligent” radar system now being introduced by the police in East Bohemia cost the region of Pardubice and surrounding towns 850,000 crowns, but traffic police say the system is worth it. A Czech Radio reporter joined a patrol unit for a closer look on the I/35, a major road where the system will be used most. The officers described the situation to her as they waited for offenders at the side of the road.

“I am behind the wheel today and am responsible for the car. My colleague has the tablet and is taking care of the radar… The second that a car breaking the speed limit passes by, it is captured on camera.”

“Right now, there is a truck going too fast in the oncoming lane, we’ve got a picture and we can pass that information on quickly to a patrol on the other side and they can wait for the driver down the road.”

Glare on the windshield and high-contrast may render the driver indiscernible, but the officers say that this is only a temporary setback: it is not at all difficult to dial up filters improving the quality of the image to reveal the motorist’s face.

“When you run it through a series of filters you can fully reveal who the driver is. Their face comes into view over the computer. The final result is that you have both the driver and the license plate numbers. Using this system it is not possible for speeders to get away with anything.”

Photo: Honza Ptáček
The advanced radar used is also able to rapidly check not only for stolen vehicles but also learn whether the vehicle has been taken for emission tests, required by law. Transgressors face heavy fines. As for the road chosen, the I/35? The head of the Pardubice regional police force Jan Švejdar says there were numerous reasons to watch this throughway, not least, because of new infrastructure planned.

“A new road is to be built from Opatovice to Olomouc and there will be a stretch of new highway near the municipality of Ostrov. The [new system] is a small step for police to be able to monitor here 24/7.”

Given the number of well-publicised road rage incidents or speeding by so-called road pirates on Czech highways in recent years, advanced radar systems may be the way to go in other parts of the country as well. This patrol at least called the system exceptional.

“There’s always somebody who is in a rush, passing where it isn’t allowed, in areas where it can be difficult to spot. This equipment is a joy to use.”