Raleigh Woman Uses Eliminator On License Plate, Ticketed
Posted October 31, 2002 3:54 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Is it illegal to hide your license plate from red-light cameras? With the cameras already in Fayetteville and coming soon to Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill, that question is the center of a hot debate.
Tammy Maultsby said her mother gave her the Eliminator, a piece of plastic that covers a license plate. The manufacturer claims it blocks the view of red-light cameras.
Maultsby researched the Eliminator, could not find anything illegal about it and put it on her car. Last Saturday, Maultsby said she was driving the speed limit on Leesville Road when she was pulled over.
She said she had never had a ticket before, but that all changed when a Raleigh police officer saw her Eliminator license plate cover. For using her Eliminator, the officer gave Maultsby a $125 ticket.
"So he was thinking that I was concealing my tag, which I mean, from angles, it does look like it is concealed, but the whole tag, if you come straight on, is not hidden," Maultsby said.
State Rep. Bob Hensley fought red-light camera legislation and said he can fight it in court. He said the law that addresses covering license plates was drafted in 1937, and it does not cover today's technology.
"The present law says you can't make the letters illegible, but if the officer can read those letters then they're not illegible and they're not against the law," he said.
Raleigh police say they will continue to issue tickets for Eliminator installers, although some lawyers claim the charges will not hold up in court. A state highway patrol sergeant told WRAL he has not heard of any troopers issuing a ticket for people covering their license plates with the Eliminator.