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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Super Protector from OnTrack
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.
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.
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.