Unformatted text preview: o if you get pulled over. Photo Radar and How to Deal With It
Many states and municipalities are now using technology instead of police. This
takes the form of photo radar and red light/tollbooth ticket cameras. The reason
they are doing this is two-fold. One is an alleged increase in safety and the other
Despite claims of safety from the proponents of these systems, facts may prove
otherwise. A Virginia DOT study proved that red light traffic cameras increased
the overall incidence of traffic injury at intersections where this technology was
The technology is relatively straightforward. The results are not. Let me explain.
Cameras are used differently for red light/toll booths and for speeding.
In the case of red lights, the systems use a timer and sensor buried in the asphalt
to determine if a car has run a red light. These systems must be properly
calibrated to be accurate. In many cases they are not. In fact, a San Diego
judge threw out 290 red light camera tickets because the system was not
properly set up and operated.
Toll booth cameras operate similarly. They take pictures of a license plate
whenever the sensors appear to detect that a car has passed without paying.
Photo radar cameras operate by tying in a radar gun to a camera system and
photographing the plate of the car that was allegedly speeding. But the systems
are not foolproof and it can be very tough to argue against these in court.
There is considerable legal argument as to whether the entire system of cameras
and tickets is even legal. Issues such as due process, facing your accuser and
mistaken identity are very legitimate legal and constitutional concerns.
Fortunately, there is a preventative measure that is fast, cheap, and proven
effective. A company called PhantomPlate, Inc. has developed a product called
PhotoBocker Spray, a highly reflective spray which, when applied to license
plates, makes the plate so reflective that the flash from the camera over-exposes
the picture to make it unreadable.
While this may sound hard to believe, it has been tested by police departments
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- Spring '09
- ........., police car, Traffic law, radar gun, Speed trap