NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD issued thousands of tickets to drivers who tried to use license plate covers to duck red-light ticket cameras — although an expert says the trick rarely works.
Last year, police officers doled out roughly 29,000 violations to drivers who covered their plates with plastic shields meant to obscure part of their numbers, according to the Department of Transportation and the NYPD.
The tickets typically charge drivers $65 for driving with a shield over their license plates.
The plate covers can be found online for around $25, and promise to cover enough of license plate numbers so that when drivers speed through red lights or in school zones, cameras won't be able to photograph them and issue tickets.
But Charles Territo, from the company that provides many of the city's red light and speed cameras, American Traffic Solution, said the covers aren't successful.
"We're using high definition still cameras to capture violations as well as a very strong flash," he said.
"Those types of counter measures that people deploy rarely work with our technology."
Officials can even use a partial plate number, cross-reference it with Department of Motor Vehicle databases and still send along the ticket, he said.
"We're using a 29 megapixel camera," he added. "When we're illuminating the scene with a high flash, we don't lose very much."
Still, the covers have been a cause of concern for the NYPD, which stepped up enforcement last year to bust drivers.
A DOT spokeswoman said police officers "significantly increased enforcement" to make sure "dangerous drivers are held accountable."
Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to push for school zone speed cameras to operate throughout the day and to install more cameras further out from the direct vicinity of schools.
Currently, they are only activated an hour before and after school, and don't work nights and weekends.