THE BALLARAT Highway Patrol has a new set of wheels.
From the FX Holden sedan station cars of 1948 to the Holden HK of 1968, the Highway Patrol's XC Ford Falcons of 1978 and El Ford sedans of 1998 to the more recent VX Commodore SS vehicles of the early 2000s, Victoria Police's fleet of vehicles is constantly evolving.
Following the end of local car manufacturing, the highway patrol unit vehicles are currently being replaced with Mercedes, BMWs and Volkswagens.
Sergeant Ross Humphrey of the Ballarat Highway Patrol has been on the beat for 30 years.
He recalls that when he first joined, simply having a heater in a vehicle was a luxury for officers on night shift.
Sergeant Humphrey, a self-professed lover of cars and driving, has witnessed dramatic changes in the evolution of police vehicles over the years and said they had become more comfortable, more reliable and integrated with technology.
The high powered vehicles, including the new Mercedes the Highway Patrol has just received in addition to its BMW, are fitted with all of the latest safety features and beneficial technology such as speed detection technology and the automatic number plate reader.
ANPR technology automatically alerts the officers travelling in the vehicle of the registration status of a car they pass, the licence status of the registered car owner and if that driver has any outstanding sheriff notices.
The technology allows the officers to focus on other means of enforcement, such as checking for distraction offences such as drivers utilising mobile phones while behind the wheel and for seatbelt offences.
Sergeant Humphrey said back when he first started detecting distractions such as using mobile phones wasn't required, but that technology was constantly evolving to assist police in their enforcement efforts.
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