It will now take Wodonga police only about a second to find out if a driver is disqualified, in a car that has been flagged as involved in criminal activity and even if they owe fines to the sheriff.
The first of Wodonga Highway Patrol's new BMW vehicles, equipped with automated number plate recognition technology, was out on the road on the weekend.
One of four cameras on the car scans the number plates of every vehicle that goes past and officers are quickly alerted with a beep on their tablet if police have a record of why the car or registered owner possibly should not be on the road.
Sergeant Liam McMahon said during the first test on Saturday, Wodonga officers used the ANPR technology to check about 1600 cars and found 34 of interest.
"It gives the guys another tool for us to use to make the road safer," he said.
"It's going to mean that the highway patrol fleet across the state has a better detection rate and are finding unauthorised drivers who shouldn't be on the road.
"It's really a game-changer."
The cameras could check up to 5000 cars per shift.
It's really a game-changer ... gives the guys another tool for us to use to make the road safer.Sergeant Liam McMahon
The technology itself is not new, used regularly by NSW Police and on occasion in Victoria as part of special operations.
But it will soon be in every highway patrol car in Victoria, including the three based in Wodonga.
As well as detecting things like stolen cars, ANPR technology could also make highway patrol cars a handy asset in criminal investigations by checking number plates during the hunt for a wanted person.
Sergeant McMahon said they would target crime hot spots not only in Wodonga, but in Indigo and Towong shires.
Road policing command Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy said a study has shown that unauthorised drivers were at fault in 16 per cent of Victoria's fatalities in 2016.
"These drivers have no right to be behind the wheel, either because of their previous unsafe behaviour or because they are unlicensed," she said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"We're determined to detect them and get them off our roads.
"ANPR is a big step forward in that effort."
The number plate recognition comes to Wodonga just before police conduct their annual Christmas and new year holiday blitz on the roads.
Operation Roadwise will begin on December 13 and run until January 5 and Sergeant McMahon said officers were planning to be out in force over the key dates, targetting drink and drug driving, speeding, fatigue and distraction.