New Spray Is Latest Product To Stop Red-Light Cameras

Posted February 18, 2005 4:50 a.m. EST

— When you run a red light and the red-light camera catches you, you are busted. With fines starting at $50, drivers are snapping up products designed to block the cameras.

Photoblocker is a spray-on product that covers a license plate with a reflecting crystal coating. When the red light camera flashes, the spray distorts the image, and the plate is unreadable.

WRAL showed a can of Photoblocker to state Rep. Paul Miller (D-Durham).

"It's obvious that it's a way to circumvent the law and to turn a safe situation into an unsafe one, so I think we probably need to take some kind of action," he said.

License plate blocking sprays are not mentioned in North Carolina law. Miller said he will introduce a bill that would ban them. It is not the first time Miller has gone after products intended to get you around red-light cameras.

Miller also eliminated the Eliminator, a clear piece of plastic that blurs out information on license plates taken from the red-light cameras. Miller sponsored a bill that banned the devices in North Carolina. Now, he said, he is on a new mission.

"That's a definite violation of the intent of the law we passed recently, so we're probably going to have to have some clarification to deal with this situation also," he said.

The PhotoBlocker only works on still-shot red-light cameras, like the systems in Raleigh and Fayetteville. Camera systems that use rolling video, like Knightdale and Cary, are not affected by the spray.

"The camera reads right through it. It does absolutely nothing to stop the camera," said Chris Davis, of the Cary Police Department.

Officials said the photoblocker law will be tough to enforce, because you cannot see it on the plate just by looking with your bare eyes. Tracking who buys it will be tough too, since most of it is purchased on the Internet.