WRAL has been reporting about about the device, touted as a "red-light camera beater" since July. Thursday, a legislator who saw the television reports introduced a bill that would make the Eliminator illegal.
The Eliminator's manufacturer said the louvered piece of plastic blocks the view of a car's license plate from red-light cameras. The manufacturer is right.
From straight behind, you get a clear view of the plate. But viewing it from above, where the red-light camera would be, it's just a blur.
"Actually," said Rep. Paul Miller of Durham. "I was just watching TV in the fall of last year, and I saw it on WRAL, and I said: 'That may be a good thing to look into.'"
Miller turned his concern into a bill that passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously. The bill makes it clear that any device that makes a license plate unclear is illegal.
"If you have an Eliminator, then you're endangering citizens that go through the intersection," Miller said, "because those who have it feel basically invunerable to being caught."
As for clear license-plate covers, the committee amended the bill to allow covers as long as they don't interfere with a red-light camera.
Police and prosecutors wanted the law cleared up because of
cases like Tammy Maultsby's
. A Raleigh officer wrote her a ticket in October for having the Eliminator.
"The reason I got pulled over wasn't because I was violating anything," Maultsby said. "I wasn't speeding, wasn't running through a red light. It was just because I had a piece of plastic on my back tag."
With the law unclear, the district attorney allowed Maultsby to give up her Eliminator with no fine.
If the new bill passes, the law would be clear: anyone with an Eliminator would be fined.
The anti-Eliminator bill now goes to the full House. Violators would not receive any driver's license points but would face a $25 fine, court costs and possible community service.
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