6/14/2005Red Light Camera Countermeasures Don't Always Work
Different camera enforcement setups sometimes thwart license plate covers and sprays.
Heavily advertised camera enforcement countermeasures such as plate covers and reflective sprays will not necessarily work in all cases.
The first problem is that some camera systems don't use a flash. Lasercraft Inc., for example, runs red light camera systems for several Georgia jurisdictions including Athens-Clarke County, Decatur, Duluth and Gwinett County. The cameras employ infrared photography which is able to read license plates in all weather conditions, day or night. Because there is no flash to reflect, reflective plate spray will not do a thing. This photographic technique is also used by SPECS speed cameras in the UK.
Georgia's legislature, however, appears to believe plastic license plate covers are effective and have recently made using one an offense carrying a $1000 fine. The Illinois legislature passed a similar measure in May.
In certain cases, however, even the plate covers can be overcome. These devices provide a relatively clear view of the license plate when viewed head-on but distort the image when viewed from an angle. They are designed primarily to thwart cameras mounted high up on poles off to the side of the road. Washington, DC's mobile speed cameras cars are often positioned close to the road in such a way that they have a nearly head-on view of the license plate.
The speed cameras that Lasercraft offers to Georgia jurisdictions rely upon the ProLaser III laser gun which a UK court in February ruled was unreliable. A ProLaser speed camera had accused a Scottish man of driving 132 MPH, even though this was 25 MPH faster than his vehicle was physically capable of traveling.
Any person who willfully covers any license plate with plastic, other material, or any part of his or her body in order to prevent or impede the ability of surveillance equipment to clearly photograph or otherwise obtain a clear image of the license plate is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00. Georgia Code 40-2-6.1. Effective July 1, 2005.