As the number of municipalities using red light cameras has increased, so too have the number of products claiming to protect drivers from getting a ticket.
One product is a spray. The makers claim the “high powered gloss” works by reflecting the camera flash back toward the lens, making your license plate unreadable. Other devices include darkening or reflective license plate covers.
One of the more unusual products looks like open mini-blinds. Its makers claim it makes your license plate invisible from above.
All of these products have one thing in common, says Lt. Bill Bonsack, who's in charge of technology services for the Arnold Police Department - they don’t work.
“Basically it’s all a hoax,” Bonsack said. “It doesn’t hide anything. It doesn’t obscure anything that the camera sees. The only way to avoid getting a ticket is to drive defensively, pay attention to your surroundings and drive the right way.”
Currently, there are four intersections in Arnold equipped with red light camera systems. They are located at Jeffco Boulevard and the Rockport school entrance; the intersection of Vogel and Richardson roads; the intersection of Jeffco Boulevard and Highway 141; and the intersection of Highway 141 and Astra Way.
The systems use a motion sensor, a video camera, a still-picture camera and a strobe light. The sensor detects movement at the stop line, bordering the intersection, when the traffic signal is red. Then cameras take photos and video of the car at the stop line, entering the intersection during the red light, and proceeding through the intersection.
Police review the photos and video before deciding to issue a citation. Tickets for red light camera violations are $94.50.
Bonsack says the majority of red light violations are the result of inattention.
“All we want to do is to get people to pay attention,” Bonsack said. “If part of that means you get your hand slapped and you get a ticket and it’s a red light camera ticket, it’s done two things: it’s forced you to take a little bit of time out of your day to think about what you’ve done, and it’s touched your pocket book. It’s a pretty simple thing. All you’ve got to do is drive defensively and pay attention to what’s going on around you.”