NYC Drivers Avoiding Tickets with License Plate Tampering

View of Brooklyn Bridge at night with car traffic Brooklyn Bridge at night

In 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced Vision Zero, a plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities on the city’s streets. Part of the initiative included installing more speed detection devices and red light cameras. Though it seemed like a good way to catch drivers who were breaking the law, motorists have come up with new ways to avoid traffic tickets from these machines. Many drivers now either have their license plates in the wrong position, or cover it with tape or plastic that causes a glare when a photo is taken.

In the past two years, nearly 145,000 traffic tickets have been evaded by moving or covering up license plates. When officers reviewed these photos to issue citations, they recorded that they couldn’t do because of glare from the flash, overexposed sun, missing plates and other reasons. Some drivers have taken it to another level, installing clear overs over their plates. When looked on from the back, the plate can be read clearly. But from an angle, the plate is distorted. Though putting anything over a license plate is illegal in New York, these covers can be bought for as little as $5 from online and in-store retailers.

Since 2014, there were about 85,000 red light tickets thrown out because the license plate was obscured. In addition, nearly 60,000 speeding tickets were also thrown out. However, that represents less than 4 percent of all violations caught by the speed devices and red light cameras. In total, 1.5 million tickets were given out for running red lights, and 2.4 million were issued for driving too fast.

In 2015 alone, the New York Police Department issued more than 3,300 tickets for improper or missing plates. That’s the highest in five years. However, critics say police need to do more to take these potentially dangerous drivers off the road.

If you have been issued a traffic ticket in New York, we may be able to help you fight it. Contact the attorneys at Feifer & Greenberg today for a free consultation.