Think Twice before Buying Devices Claiming to Prevent Red Light Tickets

Police say sprays, license plate covers will not protect drivers from getting a red light camera ticket.

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.”


Brian June 02, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Somewhere in the past a lie was planted. It was the premise that red light cameras are an effective tool to make the public safer. Now it has been nourished by so much - I'll politely call it "fertilizer" - that new ones are growing every day. If the quote is accurate, Lt. Bonsack stated, "The only way to avoid getting a ticket is to drive defensively, pay attention to your surroundings and drive the right way.” We all know that this is false because the owner of the car is the one cited, not the driver. So you can be a perfect driver and still get a citation if someone else was driving poorly in a car that you own (or co-own). Referring to the anti-red light products, Lt. Bonsack is quoted as saying, “Basically it’s all a hoax”. Yet if we look west to Scottsdale, AZ - the home of ATS - there is evidence of people putting shutter devices on their license plates so that they can still be seen at ground level, but not from above. It infuriated ATS - I mean the police - in that area so much that they tried to issue tickets just for simply having the device on your vehicle. This game is becoming more and more juvenile each day. Let the business that is ATS - and their competitors - wither and die in their own putrid stench of lies, greed and inability to deliver on their central selling point of a safer public. Keep the longer amber lights and give them additional study time to see if they really are an effective tool to keep us safe.
Brian June 02, 2011 at 08:32 PM
@ Lance: I absoultely researched this before posting. Nothing I posted was related to the ticket laws in Arizona, only the methods employed in reaction to the cameras. I live in Arnold, but I have a co-worker whose mother was a Scottsdale resident. He was the one who initially told me about the police reaction to the shutter covers. I then found several websites where the topic was being discussed including this one http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/05/21/20080521license0521.html and this one http://nevercoldcall.typepad.com/scottsdale_sucks/2007/02/only_idiots_pay.html Even a moron like me can see that the longer ambers REDUCED violations significantly, something that the red light cameras never even came close to achieving. I think that is why it merits more study. For the record, the only red light citation I received was sent to someone who previously lived at my address. I marked it return to sender, but I have no idea if it ever found its appropriate destination.
John Smith June 03, 2011 at 04:02 AM
There ARE devices that 100% PREVENT PHOTOGRAPHY of your license plate. One such is this: http://shop.stealthperformanceproducts.com/Stealth-License-Plate-5.htm Also available here: http://dieselsecret.com/order021507?gclid=CKi-oOXCpqICFR5V5wodxzYxRw (Scroll down to the bottom of the page). So, Lt. Bill Bonsack is entitled to his OPINION. As for me, when I'm in your area, I look in the rearview mirror for signs of Gestapo, then push the button on my dashboard and I could care less about your silly cameras.
John Smith June 03, 2011 at 04:28 AM
So, how many Constitutional rights do these camera "violations" trample? Let's see if you can think of more to add to my list: How about the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty? How about the right to due process of law? How about the right to face your accuser in court? And have your attorney cross examine witnesses against you? So how do you cross examine a camera incapable of stating its name? These issues were sidestepped awhile back when this issue went to Federal court. The court called it a civil matter. The City of Arnold feels so confident of its Constitutional standing on these "citations" that an attorney can get them dismissed for $50.00. I used Davis, Appelbaum & MAAS, 4139 Jeffco Blvd. My 17 year old son was driving my car and he was being tailgated by an aggressive pick up driver. He was AFRAID to stop, he said. You can argue how careless my son is all day, but I told the attorney I would rather give him $1,000.000 than the racketeering city fathers of Arnold a dime. I was shocked that his fee was only $50. How much work am I getting out of an Attorney for $50? Perhaps the better question is, how strong does the city think its case is for collection? When I can legally beat the ticket for $50, the obvious answer is not very.
Brian June 03, 2011 at 05:11 AM
@ Mr. Smith: Imagine if a police officer had been present when your son was tailgated. This entire situation would have been seen in a different light. The city of Arnold had an opportunity to really address public safety that day, but left the responsibility to a CAMERA!! It's simply more proof that red light cameras exist to try and squeeze money out of the general public while hiding behind the facade that they are protecting us. Making matters worse is that the city needs the collected ticket funds too much. They can't afford the loss of revenue that would accompany a true solution to the red light running problem. The truth is, I've driven these intersections for five years and I can't say that I see driving habits any different from other places I've lived. That there is even a problem with people running lights here is debatable. It seems like it was invented as an excuse to put up cameras in the first place. What a sad state of affairs...
Kurt Greenbaum June 03, 2011 at 03:21 PM
I have deleted a couple of comments. You're free to express your opinions; you're not free to call each other names. Honestly, you guys know better than that. Stick to the topic, not personal attacks.
Brian December 01, 2011 at 08:39 AM
Today I witnessed a new method to avoid the red light camera citation. While waiting at the light to cross Richardson Rd. and enter the ramp to northbound I-55, I saw two Arnold PD patrol cars approaching the intersection from the opposite direction. They had just come up the ramp after exiting southbound I-55. Neither one was going to make it to the intersection before the red light. The police car in front turned on its emergency lights, accelerated into the intersection against the red light and then executed a U-turn onto the ramp to I-55 northbound. I wondered why the second car wasn't also going to aid the emergency. After crossing Richardson Rd., however, I found out that the emergency wasn't real. The officer only wanted to secure the second spot in line for the speed patrol that had been set up. In order to do this, he or she deemed it necessary to turn on the car's emergency lights and U-turn against a red signal. I've got a flier in to Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary to see if they would like to use this as the definition of hypocrisy. It certainly fits. I'll also try insubordination as it relates to the publicly stated position of the Arnold Chief of Police in his support of the red light cameras.
jjj December 21, 2012 at 08:06 AM
all you have to do if you dont want a red light camera ticket in missouri is always drive a car with out of state plates. same way in illinois. if you drive a car over there with missouri plates then you can not get a speeding camera ticket that they now do. I just swaped cars with a friend a few years ago & now neither of us have to worry about it. he drive my illinois car in missouri & I drive his missouri car in illinois with me. it has worked out great. neither state gives out there camera tickets to out of state drivers. they just screw there oun residents.
cc February 02, 2013 at 05:21 PM
so whats with the summons Arnold is issuing. What to do with those?


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