Hit And Run License Plates
In today's post, we're going to go over some tools for finding hit and run license plates.
Hit and run accidents are all too common. Fortunately, the other driver can often be identified because of their license plate, even if the license number isn't clearly identifiable.
Here at Johnson Law, we see all kinds of license plate evidence. Often this takes the form of blurry video recordings. Sometimes an imprint is left or even the license plate itself is left at the accident scene. This evidence can be key to your recovering your personal and financial health.
Working quickly to gather all evidence after a crash is important. Our personal injury attorneys work hard to get the best results for our clients. This often includes crash scene investigation.
If possible, we find the driver at fault. Finding the hit and run driver can substantially increase your potential financial and physical recovery. Feel free to get a free consult and ask one of our car accident lawyers why this is.
So, let's go over some of the information we use when identifying license plates.
License Plate Evidence
Often in car accidents, there is some form of evidence that shows hit and run license plates.
Common License Plate Evidence Sources:
- Security Cameras
- Traffic Cameras
- Cell Phone Video from drivers or witnesses
- Dashcam Videos
However, all too often, the evidence isn't clear. Witnesses often struggle to exactly remember the plate number. Photo evidence can be extremely pixelated. Despite that, with some additional work, the vehicle can often be identified. Partial plate numbers are still useful, especially when combined with any information about the type of vehicle.
License Plate Typeface and Font
License plates are a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives. We see them on cars, trucks, buses, and even bicycles. Most people never need to stop and think about them though. We do. For example, what font is used on license plates and why?
Well first we have to be pedantic and point out that what we care about is the typeface. A typeface is technically different from a font. A typeface describes a particular style of lettering. A font refers to variations of a typeface. Think size and "boldness" (weight).
The typeface used on license plates is actually quite important. It needs to be legible from a distance, durable enough to withstand the elements, and aesthetically pleasing. As such, license plates tend to use very distinct typefaces.
For example, standard Oregon and California plates use very different styles for the number "4".
Using that knowledge you can make a list of potential matches from seemingly unreadable license plate photos.
License Plate Patterns
One of the best ways to help narrow down potential hit and run license plates is knowing the patterns different states use for the license numbers. Most often states use a number of letters followed by a number of letters. Also specific vanity plates often have associated patterns. If you can identify the state and style, you can use the associated pattern.
Our personal injury lawyers most often deal with Oregon, Washington, and Californian license plates. States sometimes decide to change their patterns. Additionally, special license plates often have special patterns. Here is a list of default formats for passenger vehicles used in Oregon, Washington, and California as of August 2023.
- Oregon: Sequential issuance: 6-character plate (3 letters, 3 digits)
- Washington: Sequential issuance: 7-character plate (3 letters, 4 digits)
- California: Sequential issuance: 7-character plate (1 digit, 3 letters, 3 digits)
Simply knowing the license plate doesn't follow these general patterns also helps. That can indicate a custom plate.
Using AI To Read Blurry License Plates
In case you didn't know, computers can help determine hit and run license plates. Police forces, governments, and toll roads have been using this technology for years. We have also learned to use these tools to better serve our clients.
As of writing this article Nvidia is the king of AI computing. Generally, they have the best hardware and the best software libraries. That includes license plate recognition! Here is the link their publicly available license plate recognition model if you're interested.
The model takes in a picture of the license plate and outputs a list of what it thinks it could be as well as confidence indicators. If you combine a decent knowledge of license plate typeface design and the AI output you can create a manageable list of potential license plate numbers.
This is how you can find drivers who may have otherwise been unidentifiable.
Finding Hit And Run Drivers
After a crash scene investigation and narrowing down a list of potential plates/vehicle types we can usually find the responsible driver. Sometimes this necessitates the use of a private investigator. If you were trying to handle your own personal injury matter this likely would simply cost too much. That's one of the great upsides of hiring a personal injury lawyer.
An experienced Johnson Law car accident lawyer knows when to pull in additional resources to your matter. Best of all, you don't pay anything out of pocket, and if we don't get you a better settlement there is no fee. That's what "No Win, No Fee" means.
This is how normal people can go up against these behemoth insurance companies and win!