NTTA Mulling Prisoners as Contractors - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

NTTA Mulling Prisoners as Contractors

Authority seeks help sorting license plate photos



    NTTA Mulling Prisoners as Contractors
    A Dallas man is refusing to pay toll charges racked up by the thieves who stole his car in February.

    by Bruce Felps

    The North Texas Tollway Authority seems a bit overwhelmed when it comes to sorting through all the photographs its enforcement cameras snap of license plates attached to cars without tolltags.

    They need to go though about 150,000 images a day of photos that can’t be scanned by an automated system. That is a lot of drivers foregoing tolls each day.

    The unscanned photos need to be sorted into “legible” and “illegible” stacks, and that’s where the NTTA needs help because those photos showing a clean image get tracked back and billed to the registered owner. The ones don’t show a full plate get ditched and the illegal drivers get a free ride.

    So, NTTA, citing manpower shortages, wants to outsource the process, and one of the frontrunning contractors is the Oklahoma prison system, which would engage its guests to do the sorting.

    Um, two things: Why not consider the Texas prison system? Surely we have a few unemployed prisoners who need to do something with all that spare time. Second, is giving access to identifying license plates to prisoners a good idea?

    There's more to this story involving private information protection and such, but why let the full set of facts get in the way of a good commentary, or this one for that matter?

    It’s not a done deal yet, there are still three other bidding contractors for NTTA to consider, but who works cheaper than prisoners?

    Bruce Felps owns and operatesEast Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He never breaks traffic laws … as far as you know.