Most of us know what these are and what they can do. We ALL hate them. Fines range from $25 – $150 depending on what state you are in. Some states have chosen to prohibit the use of red light cameras. These include Arkansas, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire and West Virginia. If you live there – consider yourself lucky – for now.
Now to beat them you have to understand how they work. Im still doing the research but here are some findings I have done so far.
Manufacturers of cameras:
ATS – http://www.atsol.com – flash / video / mobile
REDFlex – http://www.redflex.com/ – flash / mobile
Gatsometer – http://www.gatso-usa.com/ – flash
Brekford – http://www.bredford.com/ – flash / mobile
ACS – (Xerox company) – flash
Here is a few useful links that may be handy
Map of all red and speed cameras in USA – http://www.photoenforced.com/
OK, since now we know what they are – how to we beat them? That is a good question. There are many ways to beat these cameras. There isnt even one that is 100% proof against all of them.
Why, different brands (above) use different technologies to get our plates. Some use flash, some double flash, some flash with exposure, some use video, some use video with infrared beams. The last two are very hard to beat without triggering another system that Police cars use which is Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) scanners (little devices that cops carry on top of their cars to get you). ALPR, and most traffic enforcement cameras, usually use Infrared cameras to record this data. Those can be beat my blinding them with the IR lights. IR light is invisible to the human eye.
I will explain a little bit more in a few.
People have tried to camouflage their license plates with hairspray, plastic wrap, specialized spray formulas and license plate covers, and none have held up to MythBusters (TV show) testing. But you can try them on your own.
First you need to know if you want to protect yourself against a RED light camera or Speed Camera.
Red lights cameras – Those work on camera flash and on infrared videos. You have to know which ones are around your neighberhood to know how to beat them. Some cameras that have been installed for few years in the same spot use camera flash technology – which is easier to beat with Plate shields and other. Newer cameras use video and IR sensing at night and those are pretty hard to beat.
Speed cameras – they work on infrared (IR) technology. They use Infrared LEDs to read your plate during the date and night.
DEVICES AGAINST CAMERA FLASHES
Lets start with the simplest and cheapest and get to the more expensive units to fight the cameras.
Photo Blocker spray – It is the cheapest way to fight a camera and some say that it works. Most say and proved it that it doesnt work. I believe phantomplate.com sells it for $49. Stay away from that product. It is nothing more then repackaged $3 Clear Coat that you get from local Home Depot. For anyone that has ever tried using it, it is apparant by smell alone the second that you try to spray your plate.
Does it work? Yes and No… During the Day they will not do anything for you. If you travel at night and you do not have IR cameras the sprays can help over expose the flash from the cameras.
If you are still not sure about the effectiveness of photo radar sprays, at least save yourself some money and just buy a can of clear coat instead. The spray is based on the principle of making your plate shiny, so that when a picture of your plate is taken with flash, the shiny coat reflects the flash and makes your plate unreadable.
Myth Busters (TV SHOW on Discovery Channel), which is a great show that I like and trust on the
Discovery Channel, proved that these spray and similar sprays were completely ineffective red light and speed cameras.
There are many plate covers out there. Different covers work for different cameras. One main manufacturer makes these so you will see these products at many distributors. OnTrackCorp.com.
They have been tested and again some work and some dont. Here is a good resource to see how they did in their tests: http://radartest.com/Red-Light-Camera-Countermeasures-Test.asp. I dont know how these tests were performed against different angles so Im not sure if they were done properly.
I believe that the “SUPER PROTECTOR” plate cover works the best in most situations. Its thin, its clear and it works against most cameras (excluding IR cameras).
For IR cameras they offer product called “IR Invisi-Plate” which should work for the IR cameras but it doesnt work against the flash cameras.
There are other products made by OnTrack so check their website at http://www.ontrackcorp.com/ and find a distributor.
ProDB – this product has not been widely tested so there isnt many results or proof that it works
NOPHOTO – this product has been tested but it failed since it couldnt sync with the camera flash to blind it. Here is some good info on this product: http://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=30590
CHINESE VERSION of NOPHOTO – this product worked a lot better than NOPHOTO but it takes a DIY guy to install it.
Here is a comparison of a NOPHOTO (one with a black frame around it) to the Chinese version:
Chinese version of the NOPHOTO you can find on ebay.com
IR CAMERA PROTECTION:
There are devices that emit an IR lights to blind the IR cameras.
Using IR light is superior to traditional reflective sprays and physical license plate photo -blocker covers for the following reasons: Sprays only work against flash based cameras and their effectiveness is questionable, they provide no protection against IR-only cameras or ALPR. Physical photoblocker plate covers, while usually highly effective, must physically cover the numbers, are easily identifiable and very much illegal in most areas.
This is how the frame will look to an IR sensitive camera. Effectively making the number plate unreadable and maintaining your privacy.
ONE problem with that. If a regular police officer has one of the Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) scanners (plate scanners on top of police cars) – you will automatically get pulled over since he will not be able to check your plate which means automatic RED FLAG! Good luck explaining to the officer why his system can’t read your plate. If you have something to hide when your plate is scanned then get THAT fixed.
ALPR, and most traffic enforcement cameras, usually use Infrared cameras to record this data. So we have created a special low profile license plate frame that emits a high intensity IR light that is projected onto the plate and effectively blinds the device’s camera. This light is invisible to the human eye.
License plate flipper – http://www.licenseplateflipper.com/