New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a new initiative to crack down on drivers, including police officers, who use plastic license plate covers to evade tickets from traffic enforcement cameras. According to The Daily News, covered license plates have allowed drivers to break traffic laws and dodge tickets in at least 144,852 cases since 2014.
The clear plastic covers, which can be bought online or at stores such as Walmart for as little as $5, prevent traffic enforcement cameras from being able to get a clear picture of the license plate when viewed at an angle. Others have also taken to intentionally scratching the covers to obstruct view of the underlying plate number. Records show that the covers have caused 84,935 red-light photos and 59,917 speeding tickets to be “rejected” from Feb 2014 to September 2016.
“We are going to catch them and we are going to penalize them,” Mayor de Blasio commented during a press conference regarding the offenders. “This is another area where we are going to deepen enforcement and there will be more consequences. So if someone has one of those covers I'd advise them to get them off real quick because the NYPD is coming.”
According to Police Commissioner James O’Neill, NYPD has issued 42,000 traffic tickets for the infraction over the past two years. Those who oppose the initiative claim that the majority of offenders are police officers themselves, specifically those who park outside stationhouses throughout the city.
Placard Corruption, a Twitter handle which regularly posts photos of vehicles with the covers, leads the opposition. “Even if the covers are relatively ineffective, police officers are paying money for them and taking the time to illegally install the on their personal vehicles,” Placard Corruption’s anonymous administrator commented.
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