12/27/2006Arizona: Man Fights Photo Radar with Confusing Plate
An Arizona entrepreneur attempts to defeat photo radar with passive resistance.
A Tempe, Arizona entrepreneur last week announced an experimental method for defeating photo enforcement in his area. Sean Tierney, 31, CEO of Jumpbox Inc, ordered a personalized plate for his gray Chevrolet Tahoe that reads, "0DOO0D0." This combination of characters similar in their appearance often confuses automated optical character recognition software.
"But much like The Club causes enough of a nuisance to deter the would-be thief, this technique should cause the would-be photo examiner to pass over your ticket," Tierney explained, urging others to adopt the technique. "The more people that have plates with permutations of 0's and O's and D's, the more difficult their task becomes."
Tierney calculates that 2187 combinations of the hard-to-read characters are possible on the custom plates that are only $25 in Arizona. Many of the alternative methods to avoid tickets he considered were either illegal or ineffective. For example, a radar jamming device, even if it worked as advertised, would not affect the Scottsdale system that relies on in-ground speed sensors. Scottsdale's automated ticketing machines will resume operations early next year.
"I hate photo radar." Tierney wrote. "And it's not because occasionally I drive too fast and get a ticket. It's because the city proselytizes it as being a safety measure when in truth they're using it purely as a revenue-generating tool."