Avoiding Red Light Camera Tickets: License Plate Covers

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in an ongoing series on avoiding red light tickets here in Chicago–soon to be the red light camera capital of the world.

In the war against red light cameras, another strategy some people have turned to is specialty license plate covers.

In general, these are clear plastic license plate covers that employ either light diffusional technology or a view blocking strategy that prevents the license plate to be viewed from an angle and/or from above. This means that the cameras that are mounted above and from the side, cannot photograph the entire license plate of the violating vehicle. If the cameras can’t see the entire license plate, the city can’t issue the ticket.

Of course, the license plate can still be viewed directly from behind, so theoretically, the cover violates no Chicago or Illinois law as the plates are only obscured at angles.

There are several products on the market that fit this bill so let’s get started.

Of all the products on the market, The Loover is the goofiest looking and most obvious of these anti-red light camera products.

In essence, it’s a plastic plate cover that is simply a series of horizontal slats that are the length of the plate and perhaps a half inch deep and a fraction of an inch thick.

invisaloover300x225.gif

So, from behind, the license plate number is clearly visible. However, the resulting effect from above, and/or an angle, is that the license plate is not viewable.

According to the Loover website, the installation can be a bit tricky depending on your vehicle and you have to make sure the Loover is installed properly in order for it to work correctly.

As you can see from the photos, the Loover looks a little unwieldy and seems like an invitation to the cops to pull you over.

I tried to get some input from the people behind the Loover. I sent notes to every e-mail address they had on the website. All but one bounced back. And I never heard back from the one e-mail address that did not bounce.

In addition, the Loover has some sketchy legal disclaimers that would make me a bit nervous to install this device.

The Loover is $42.95 ea. plus $9.95 shipping and handling.

http://www.loover.com/

OnTrack Products

OnTrack has been around for 12 years making specialty automotive products that protect your vehicle from unwanted surveilance. The company began making products that protect against radar and laser speed guns. More recently, with the advent of speed cameras and red light cameras, OnTrack has been producing a line of products to help defeat these technologies.

From my research, OnTrack seems to have the widest selection of products, designed to defeat every type of camera configuration possible. After speaking with George XXXXXX, president of OnTrack, I was very impressed with the thought and engineering that goes into each of their products.

While I am, by my nature, skeptical about products that claim to protect you from red light camera detection, I definitely buy into the claims and technology behind most of these license cover products.

All of OnTrack’s products are made from thin clear plastic, will not yellow and are guaranteed shatterproof.

Specific to red light cameras, OnTrack offers four license plate cover options that all have their strengths and

Overhead Protector

This product uses a micro-prismatic lens, that allows the plate to be seen from behind, but at certain angles, distorts and blocks the license plate from being photographed by cameras mounted high on “bridges, overpasses and roadside poles”. Since Chicago’s red light cameras are mounted on poles, this product should work for you.

Toll-Free Protector

This is OnTrack’s most technically designed frame available. This cover actually has two micro-prismatic lens that protect your plate from being photographed from above, from the sides and from narrow angles used by toll cameras. So, not only does this cover protect you from red light cameras but also from I-Pass cameras on the tollway.

It’s very effective but it’s OnTrack’s most expensive product at $69.95.

Super Protector

The Super Protector is OnTrack’s most popular product with over one million units sold in the U.S. and Canada.

It uses the micro-prismatic technology to protect you from red light cameras mounted above and from the sides. This is perhaps the best solution against red light cameras for Chicago drivers.

It sells for $39.95 per unit.

weaknesses.

Photo Blur

The Photo Blur looks like the popular, clear acrylic bubble covers, but incorporates a thin light diffusional lens that gives your plate multi-angle protection from red light cameras. It’s the least technical of all OnTrack’s offerings and sounds like it would work.

It sells for $24.95 per cover.

Overhead Protector

http://www.ontrackcorp.com/overhead-protector.cfm?id=04

TollFree Protector

http://www.ontrackcorp.com/toll-free-protector.cfm?id=02

Super Protector from OnTrack

http://www.ontrackcorp.com/super-protector.cfm?id=05

Phantom Plate

OnTrack’s biggest competitor is Phantom Plate.

This company also makes a broad range of anti-camera products including sprays, GPS and plate covers. Phantom Plate offers two choices.

The Reflector

This product is much like the Photoblocker or Photostopper sprays as the clear plastic plate incorporates “light reflecting crystals” that, when exposed to the camera’s strong flash, it reflects the light back to the camera, overexposing the photo and obscuring your plate.

Like it’s license spray brethren, I’m mildly skeptical this strategy works with Chicago’s Redflex cameras.

The Reflector costs $19.99.

http://www.phantomplate.com/reflector.html

Photoshield cover uses a light diffusional lens to obscure the red light cameras from viewing the entire plate. This is Phantom Plate’s top of the line license cover product.
Photoshield goes for $25 each.

http://www.phantomplate.com/photoshield.html


41 Responses to Avoiding Red Light Camera Tickets: License Plate Covers

  1. Doug says:

    A bunch of crap. I am using the license plate cover and I just got a $455.00 ticket in Beverly Hills CA, I saw my plate on the photo red light camera as clear as could be. Don;t waste your money,

  2. illegal in Chicago.

  3. Pete Switchenberg says:

    Ok. I’m glad you did this! I have used 3 of these products. The problum is none of them work accept for the loover. Here is what you need to understand the loover was invented to block photo radar it may not look great on that web site but if you are in a car driving behind someone with a loover on their plate you can’t even tell it’s there. So if your a cop driving behind me in the lane to the left and look over at my plate you will be able to read it and won’t even see the loover, but if one of those damm camaras on a pole try to get your number they ain’t getig shit!!! I’m proud of my loovers I have one on three of my cars and my boat trailer.
    Loover License Plate Covers KICKS ASS!

  4. Jeff Burjiep says:

    LOOVER all the way been using the Loover since 2002 I still have the original one on my 64 bug. I am buying the new one next week it’s called the Invisa-loover. They also have a new product that flips the license plate down and then back up again but the price on it is like 250.00.

  5. DoR Employee says:

    Here’s a thought:

    Drive like you were fucking taught in School and you won’t need to worry about getting a damn ticket.

    Or is that just too Simple for you kids?

  6. Kathy Dolaner says:

    DOR employee.. It’s realy great to hear what the other side thinks… However you use a fake name and very bad words you have said nothing. Go back to your porno sites and post there where you can speak this way! By the way if I want to speed or even if I don’t want to speed but don’t want my license plate to be recorded and so I use louver plate I am sure it does it’s job. “Waaa Waaa Waaa don’t use a license plate cover don’t speed just do what I say because I want to control you because my life sucks soo bad that I need to tell others what they should be doing”
    Dude …. Everyone knows that you speed everyone knows that your the guy infront of us who cuts us off and slows down infront of us everyone hates you…

  7. Terry H. says:

    I think the photo radar companys are a fraud! The more tickets they give out the more money they make. This is wrong because it puts them in in a position were they have to want more violators and scraps any kind of plan to truly lower violations. The same technology that a red light camara uses also can prevent 80% of all accidents at intersections by making the yellow stay longer and keeping the other lights red untill it’s clear. But this would only save lives and won’t make any money for the cities or the photo radar company. When they say “it’s not about money and accidents are down” there leaving somthing out; every death from a crash at every intersection with photo radar could have been prevented and so it is the photo radar companies and the cities that are at fault, they caused the death/murder.

  8. DoR Employee says:

    Hey Kathy..

    I don’t support the Red Light Camera concept.

    But the lengths that some of you children will go to find products that will allow you to not have to worry about a Red Light Ticket tells me that no one that is for those products is For Responsible Driving.

    Oh…the big bad camera is going to photo my plate number just because I’m in range…Bull shit.

    As for the “Porno” comment….how original and unintelligent an insult.

    I’ve heard better from gang members at 96th and University.

  9. DoR Employee says:

    Terry……I agree that the Yellow Timer in this city needs to be increased from the Nations Minimum to something more reasonable.

    But hey…..I don’t expect much from citizens that keep re-electing Criminals to run this city….Every Damn Election…each time…every time…Since 1990.

  10. DoR Employee is mistaken about the yellow light timers, he’s missing the whole point of traffic signal devices. If and that’s a BIG if in Chicago the traffic signals are timed to normal traffic flow many crashes would be avioded. The city is too in love with the money, the money and the money.
    Too bad the city wouldn’t even take the National Motorist’s Association’s $10,000 challenge to setting just one traffic signal according to ITE standards and experiencing safer intersections.

  11. DoR Employee says:

    Hey Doc…I think my comment was to the point that the Cities Traffic Lights are NOT Timed for Normal Traffic Flow.

    So No…I’m not missing the point. Your just taking a contrary view to anything I say because I am a city employee, and can’t apparently have an opinion that differs from the Mayor.

  12. z509 says:

    SB1119 Engrossed
    AN ACT concerning transportation.

    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

    Section 5. The Illinois Vehicle Code is amended by changing Section 12-610.5 as follows:

    (625 ILCS 5/12-610.5)
    Sec. 12-610.5. Registration plate covers.
    (a) In this Section, “registration plate cover” means any tinted, colored, painted, marked, clear, or illuminated object that is designed to:
    (1) cover any of the characters of a motor vehicle’s registration plate; or
    (2) distort a recorded image of any of the characters of a motor vehicle’s registration plate recorded by an automated red light enforcement system as defined in Section 1-105.5 of this Code or recorded by an automated traffic control system as defined in Section 15 of the Automated Traffic Control Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act.
    (b) It shall be unlawful to operate any motor vehicle that is equipped with registration plate covers.
    (c) A person may not sell or offer for sale a registration plate cover.
    (d) A person may not advertise for the purpose of promoting the sale of registration plate covers.
    (e) A violation of this Section or a similar provision of a local ordinance shall be an offense against laws and ordinances regulating the movement of traffic.
    (Source: P.A. 89-245, eff. 1-1-96.)

  13. David says:

    Part of the problem is that the City will NOT adjust the yellow times for the length of the intersection. Consider any of the big six way intersections such as Lincoln, Irving and Damen. Driving at the legal speed limit it is not possible to cross the intersection during the duration of the yellow light. This means that you can enter, at speed, this intersection on Green and have the light be Red by the time you have gotten through it. That yellow is simply too short for safety and the City know it. And for those of us on a Bicycle who enter on Green it means we can really get stuck out there in a bad situation. (Although I also check the crosswalk signals to give me clues as to the length of time left to me). Hiding the plate isn’t the problem. Fixing the intersections so that people don’t get an accidental ticket and thus change their driving habits to a more dangerous approach.. that’s the solution.

  14. Trent says:

    Best way to test the light times is to use a crosswalk. If a disabled person cannot make it across in a reasonable time, then it is not long enough (think ADA violation).

  15. Ashcan says:

    They ALL work MOST of the time!

    The Super Protector=Most of he time
    The Blur= Most of he time
    The Photo Shield=Most of he time
    The Loover= ALL THE TIME

    But they all work!

  16. Harry Platypus says:

    I’m all for responsible driving, but people do occasionally make a mistake and fail to come to a complete stop before turning right on red. Is that worth a $100 fine. Sorry, I don’t think so…

    Ever since cash-strapped towns realized that red-light cameras were a way to may a MILLION DOLLARS a year from some cameras, they have proliferated like a plague. Spare me the platitudes about safety – just follow the money. I’m on a mission to obscure my license plates from the money grubbers. They can KI$$ MY A$$ goodbye…

  17. Fooch says:

    DoR Employee,

    Listen here you condescending human being. First, you act as though because you are older that you are wiser. It’s ironic that you are proclaiming to be so astute and wise, and talking down to everyone as they are some child, but you resort to insults and profanity. Second, as a medical provider who takes ER call, I don’t care to have to get a ticket because I’m trying to get to a patient quicker, or if my wife is in labor, or if my dog was sick in the morning and I was running late for a job interview, etc. Not everyone who speeds is some juvenile delinquent. Your perspective is rather myopic and rudimentary, not to mention hypocritical. Next time you don’t make a true stop at a stop sign, you think about how you want to pick and choose how the law best serves you, and which laws you wish to break yourself.

  18. DoR Employee says:

    Fooch….

    Everyone that Speeds is Stupid….that includes myself.

    Run a Light? Fail to Yield? No Turn on Red?

    Cry a river.

    If you are a Medico……..get a Job that Provides you with an Ambulance or M Plated Vehicle with Lights and a Siren….cause you are not exempt anymore than I am in my Vehicle.

    I remember what I was taught in Drivers Education.

    I just don’t happen to feel that the rules don’t apply to me.

    They apply to Everyone.

    Deal with them or get rid of your vehicle….because Driving is a Privilege…Not a Right.

  19. VARLC says:

    The red light camera epidemic is out of control. My first question is this: Did city government ask the people if they mind these cameras going up and being ticketed by them? Did we vote on it? Originally these cameras were for deadly intersections, now their at every intersection, ticketing people for incomplete stops, 1 second caution lights, I had a green arrow that turned off then the camera snapped, b——t. This isn’t for safety anymore is to generate revenue for the city. The common man going to work, coming home from work, who stops at caution and red lights, runs it this time at the speed limit, putting no one in danger, gets a $75 ticket. I don’t have $75 dollars to donate to the city, do you? I’m a law-abiding citizen with a clean record, I have a BAA, I go to church on Sundays, but I am for the DESTRUCTION of Red Light Cameras by any means possible. Here’s my ultimatum: they either take them down or we destroy them, that’s how pissed off I am about this and what it has become. I’ve received 4 of these and at no time was I speeding or trying to beat the light. These small infractions weren’t/aren’t putting other drivers at risk. Why not turn these cameras on and off at certain times? How about nights and weekends when people are out drinking? Disseminating what is dangerous conduct and what might be deemed as a “minor traffic infraction”? I don’t see this as an invasion of privacy, but rather another way for the city to make money for they’re faulting budgets! Do they realize we’re in a Depression and the common man is hurting too? Do you think people are getting pissed off? Who are they going to retaliate toward? The Police maybe? Anarchy in the streets because your raping normal decent people of money they don’t have and you don’t deserve? I love my city and at this point never had any qualms about laws enacted by the county, but now you’ve gone too far, you didn’t even stop to think or reason or ask the public. Big business comes to the city and says, “we’ll put up the cameras and split it 50/50”, generating millions off it’s citizens. The Police don’t even stop motorists for these minor infractions, but you justify it by saying that it IS an infraction. So how do we destroy them without getting caught? I was thinking a crossbow with a laser sight? Make sure you handle the bolts with rubber gloves. Will a pellet gun do it? I have a Benjamin .22. Is there a chemical that can be thrown and solidify to the lens cover or possibly eat through it like acid? Inquiring minds want to know. The Toll Road is different, I have a choice, I want to use it, so I pay for it. I know what your saying, “you have a choice to obey traffic laws”, c’mon, running yellow’s? Rolling stops? Caught in the intersection after a green arrow? We’ve all been in a hurry at some point trying to get to work, trying to get home, nobody is in danger, stupid. Your basically saying, “your going to pay for every little mistake you make on the road, we don’t care if your broke, we don’t care if you’re a law abiding citizen, oh, and by the way, it won’t be $20, it will be $75”. I have an idea, let’s create a new club that doesn’t exist: Vigilantes Against Red Light Cameras, and the first law of this club is? Don’t talk about VARLC, VARLC doesn’t exist. You’ve been warned.

  20. neo says:

    citizens you are the enemy and you are under attack from governments and corporations they are one and the same.An army is vunerable from its supply line and when its on the move. this is why they are going after your vehicle.when you cant win the game, dont play the game. recently a finanically dying neighboring city installed traffic cameras I now avoid this city like the plague hence none of their bussines have gotten any patronage from me or any body that would have been traveling with me. this represents a loss of thousands of dollars. If everybody does this trust me the cameras would soon leave.

  21. SRT-4 says:

    I’ll stick with obeying the law. I know the minute I try to use one of these plate covers, I’ll be pulled over by Po-Po and handed a fat ticket for that and that alone.

  22. pinky says:

    Beware: Do not buy the plate cover with the “light-reflecting crystals” in it offered on phantom plate — looks like shimmering glitter flakes in the plastic. The only “crystal” thing about it is how crystal clear your plate number will look in the photo ticket you’ll get in the mail (as did mine)!

  23. name_withheld says:

    To clarify some terms for the uneducated on this site:

    Driving is indeed a privilege, as it is a commercial activity (carriage for money) on public roads. Driving in Commerce requires a CDL in most States. A driver’s License is a thinly disguised Commercial license to ‘drive’ (as in ‘driving cattle’) in a small vehicle; think Pizza Guy.

    Traveling is a RIGHT, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a United Nations TREATY (Constitutionally binding on Governments) signed by and ratified by the United States. The fact that one is traveling in a conveyance sometimes used commercially does NOT mean it is engaged in Commerce.

    The original ‘drivers license’ was issued to men on horseback.

    If you are competent to travel peacefully and share the roads responsibly, you can cancel those contracts which authorize the State to regulate your actions and tell you what to do. These devices simply reduce the harassment.

  24. Nelson says:

    I’ve been driving for 40+ years now, and I’ve never gotten a red light ticket. In fact I’ve only got one speeding ticket, that’s it (and it was thrown out in court). I’ve driven for many years in big cities (New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, etc.) because of business. I drive flashy cars and I usually speed. But I’ve never gotten a red light ticket.

    If you feel the need to buy a bullshit scam of a plate cover with sparkly glitter on it, and then a month later you end up with another red light ticket, you are driving wrong. Plain and simple. Complain and moan about light timing all you want – I’ve driven on the same roads as you have and yet I’ve never gotten a ticket.

  25. Capt M-Plate says:

    Name_Withheld hits it perfectly..and I felt myself want to clap.

    I also wanted to point out that all plate covers are illegal in Illinois now….Tinted Or Clear..due to the requirement that “All Plates are to be kept free of foreign objects and materials.”

    And we ticket for them in Chicago once again under 9-76-160.

    Oh..and the lovely little sidebar of 76-160…if you have a violation of this Compliance Code…it also carries a No Parking Anytime on City Roadway penalty which is Stated in the Wording of 9-76-160.

  26. It's about the fact that government is now tracking our daily movements in data bases says:

    I believe such products are illegal and wish they were not. I do not object to receiving a fine if I miss a toll. However, I strongly object to fascists states tracking our daily movements in data bases. Your post 911 billions also went to developing technology for tracking every citizen on the roadways, every hour every day. 1984 will be here in 2014.

  27. Captain Clam says:

    32 years as a cop and I think cops should be doing what they are being paid for, not using cameras! This is just a CS way of bring in the cash.

  28. J. Taylor says:

    I just got a red light ticket for going 3.5 seconds into an intersection where the camera took a picture. When I watched the video 7 more cars followed me through the intersection. I just spent nearly $600.00 and had to do driving school. First red light ticket ever. I will buy a cover for my plate when I find out which one works best. Any advice?

  29. DoR Employee says:

    taylor…we in the city enforcement divisions can ticket for any type of plate cover.

    You might want to avoid it as such.

  30. Pete says:

    Does anyone know if that photo blocker spray works? If so, it would be the best of both worlds. No more scamera tickets and no plate cover visible to the naked eye.

  31. David says:

    A bike rack on the back and some other rack on the front. I legitimately drive with a bike on a rear rack. I am quite sure that the plate is covered by the rack and bike.

  32. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Bike rack…(sound effects of squeaking, tiny gears and machinery turning inside my skull)…hmmmmmmm.

    I think I need to invest in a bike rack!

  33. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Pete, I beg you! Do not spend any money on the photo blocker spray. It doesn’t work.

    Talk to the Ticket Doctor about his Plate Protector. 100% legal. He’s getting ready to debut it soon.

  34. David says:

    Take te bike rack one step more. Get the bike and put the car away a few days a week.

  35. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    David,

    Not sure if I could find room on the bike for the 25 boxes I delivered to Navy Pier today.

  36. raf says:

    For the posters above who say to ‘just drive how you were taught to’

    There’s no problem citing people running red lights – it’s getting flashed when you’re stuck in traffic in an intersection. I know, ‘don’t block the intersection’. But blockage *is* traffic and we shouldn’t be taxed for going to work, get the drift?

  37. Shon says:

    I know where the traffic light cameras are. Driving in the rain, pulling a trailer, I approached a known traffic light camera. The light turned yellow and I almost slammed on the brakes. I was so afraid of getting a ticket I almost slammed on the brakes, in the rain, pulling a trailer. That could have been a fatal mistake for me or others in the vicinity. I had much mental anguish the rest of the day, worrying if I would get a ticket. It seemed like the light did turn red, after I was under it, but I knew it was yellow as I entered. Would I get a ticket? As it turned out I did not, and never have gotten a camera ticket. But they make me a nervous wreck. I am normally a very good driver. But if I know there is a camera, I instantly become a terrible driver, ready to slam the breaks at the first sign of yellow. I do not feel any safer with these cameras, on the contrary they make me a horrible driver and a nervous wreck. They found a way to deal with the cameras in the old country, and have been for some time.
    http://blog.motorists.org/everybody-loves-to-destroy-ticket-cameras/

  38. jtaylor says:

    lol another j taylor experience is i got a ticket as i was going to a open toll and turned red the guy shut his window and smiled left the booth i went thru pulled into the thruway pulloff to the booth office and they told me its to late they already photograhed my plate and sent me a ticket for tne full price of the turnpike plus a 30 dollar surcharge . it seems to me the could have or did record my plate where i entered and still decided to charge me full price . I bet there s a huge money grab in that and its bs so it in turn maes peope into criminals that would never typically knowingly break the law. I love cameras when there used to solve horrible crimes and find missing kids and so on but they shouldnt be used to fleece the public . and it should not make police forget how to investigate crimes or turn our society into to some fascist state but again since theyve ben riding horses in america the government has tried to track or imprision anyone that dosnt agree with the powers that be starting with the alien and sedition laws . screw the camera covers lets vote these scumbags out of office starting at the local government make the installation of this cameras the kiss of political death.

  39. Steve says:

    I don’t think anyone should run a red light, but I’m on my 3rd $100 notice and the last one is suspicious. I got a notice on a right hand turn on red at a very large intersection that has a dedicated right hand turn lane and acceleration lane. I am researching on Google Maps to see if they put a “no turn on red” sign up AFTER THEY PUT UP THE RED LIGHT CAMERA’S JUST TO GET PEOPLE MAKING WHAT LOOKS LIKE A LEGITIMATE RIGHT TURN ON RED. This has got me burned…

  40. RonG says:

    tinted license plate covers and or spray do not stop you from getting red light tickets! You may believe this, but when you are issued a red light tickets those covers and spray may block the actual flash on the camera and distract them from seeing your plate numberthe problem is before that flash happens you’re actually I’m alive video camera so if you block the plates they reverse the camera for a couple seconds they see you pulling up to that light and catch your plates on a freeze frame! Ticjeymt still issued! Now as for the straight slats rhat may be a perfect idea! But spray and or tinted cover no deal!

  41. Justice says:

    DOR et al.

    The cameras SUCK.

    ANd Bull about driving the speed limit – since places like DC have f’d that up so bad in their quest for our money. in DC, on a HIGHWAY they have area’s with speed posted at 35 and 30 – yes 30 MPH on a FREAKING HIGHWAY. Traffic is horrendous and their are highways in MD and VA … where you are not permitted to drive in prime times. But the alternatives, I have had to wait SIX lights to get through a light when getting off of rt 50.

    TIP – in DC one of the hearing examiners has made fair rulings and gave many of us a means to fight….. if more than one vehicle is in the frame (picture) they cannot prove which vehicle was supposedly speeding.

    Another issue for DOR and the creeps like him. – I got a ticket for a red light which went to my home 350 miles away from where I was working. I noted that there were 5 to 6 cars in the intersection. The story is too long to post it all here, but I fought it. 3 visits later when I finally get my hearing I finally see a COLOR version of the photo… the LIGHT WAS YELLOW@@@!!!! How the hell… well they claimed they never look at the color photo until someone choses to come in to fight the ticket. It ended up costing me hundred in lost time from work, a flat tire (spike at the meter), money for parking …. and I bet it cost me more to prove my innocence that the other 5 cars who just paid the ticket

    (and come on man who has never found themselves part way in an intersection when the light changed.)

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