The actual capability of camera equipment is so limited that they are easily thwarted. Here are a few simple and easy ways to greatly reduce your chances receiving citations from photo enforcement equipment. Your mileage may vary, attempt at your own risk!
Before getting into the details, take a look at the Redflex operations manual for the Arizona DPS statewide program. Details may very with other vendors and other programs and other locations, but this manual will help you understand how they work. Download the manual.
- Wear a mask while you drive... anything from a gorilla head to a surgical or dust mask should work fine. They may send you a ticket in the mail, but clearly the picture will not be sufficient to identify you.
- Cover your face - stick your arm, hand, paper, or anything you might have handy in front of your face. If you block your face sufficiently, they will not be able to identify you.
- Turn your head - if you turn your head enough away from the camera, the camera may not get a good shot. This one is risky because you don't know how the photo will turn out.
- Tilt your head back or forward significantly - If all they see is the top of your head or the bottom of your chin, it will be hard for them to correlate the picture to the picture on your driver's license.
- Lower your visors and sit up high - Best done in combination
with these other methods. Anything to block a clear shot of you will
Other methods to make your car photo-radar-resistant include:
- Plate covers and sprays - Caution! These may or may not be considered legal or work effectively.
- Install a trailer hitch - Depending on your bumper, it might block a clear view of a digit or two on your plate.
- Pull a trailer or a boat - This will block your car or truck's plate. They can send a ticket to the registrant of the trailer, but who's to say you didn't lend out your boat or trailer to a friend? Additionally, these plates are smaller and not always mounted in an easy-to-photograph location.
- Get a custom license plate with similar letters and numbers together, such as I and 1, or O and 0 (zero) and D, B and 8. Also choose plate designs that do not offer a lot of contrast with the lettering.
- If you drive a truck, drive with the tailgate down. The cameras are usually elevated such that they may not get a clear shot of the plate.
- Register your car in the name of a company - This may be more trouble than it's worth as you may lose insurance discounts that you currently qualify for. Call your insurance agent for details. They cannot legally serve a corporation and a corporation (or even an individual) is not legally required to reveal the identity of a driver in a photograph.
- Register your car in the name of your spouse - Simply show up to court, say that it's clearly not you in the photo and they will dismiss the ticket. Legally, you are not required to testify against or incriminate your spouse. Additionally, you are not required to testify on behalf of the state as to who the driver actually is.
If you do get flashed by a photo enforcement camera, it's important to know what to do. First of all, you can check the Court Information Website to see if they are coming after you. In Arizona, if you get a ticket in the mail, you can simply throw it away. Tickets must be properly served (by a process server) in order to be valid. Read more about this here. Another great resource is PhotoRadarLaw.com. Your only risk is having to pay roughly an additional $25-30 for a process server fee should you lose your court case. And what if the person in the picture isn't you? You aren't required to rat them out. You have no obligation to or legal requirement to testify or do the state's detective work. Simply write on the form that the person in the pictures is not you and return it.
If a process server does catch you at home, you will have to respond to the ticket either by paying the fine or showing up to court. We encourage everyone to fight their tickets. These should be fairly easy to beat, and we have a few defense ideas for you here.
These methods are not fool-proof, but they will probably make it harder to actually receive a citation and make it easier to beat in court.
Here are some additional examples in the news:
Thousands of British drivers are buying James Bond-style revolving number plates on eBay to avoid speed camerasSep 23, 2016 The Sun - Article
THOUSANDS of drivers are buying James Bond-style number plates from eBay in a bid to illegally evade speed cameras.
Fake licence plates fooling photo radar, and even Calgary policeJul 31, 2015 CBC News - Article
Some people on Calgary roads will go to any lengths to avoid a speeding ticket, even creating home-made licence plates.
Sometimes, people with legitimate plates and registrations get caught up inadvertently in the fraud.
CBC's Meg Wilcox received a speeding ticket in the mail. Her sinking feeling of dread that she'd been caught with a lead foot turned into surprise when the radar photo showed her plate but on the wrong car.
Motorist removes licence plate to avoid getting caught by A9 average camerasApr 7, 2015 The Gazette - Article
A motorist removed the licence plate from his car in a desperate bid to avoid detection by average speed cameras on the A9.
Obscured license plates defy speed enforcement camerasMar 8, 2015 Global News - Article
35,000 Saskatchewan drivers were caught speeding past the cameras in the last two months, during the grace period.
However, 45 per cent of those, or about 16,000 drivers, escaped without a warning letter because the pictures failed to definitively identify the license plate.
Kelley Brinkworth with SGI said there are a number of reasons why plates are blocked.
Semis, others with no rear plates can avoid Iowa traffic camera ticketsOct 12, 2013 The Gazette - Article
More than 50,000 Iowa-based vehicles – mostly semis, trucks and buses – that conduct business across state lines don’t have rear license plates, which means they can’t be ticketed by traffic cameras.
The discovery adds fuel to the fire for people who say traffic cameras in a dozen Iowa cities, including Cedar Rapids, don’t enforce the law fairly.
Motorcyclists escape speed camera detection by not having front registration plateAug 23, 2013 News.Com.AU - Article
THOUSANDS of motorcycles are escaping detection by speed cameras because they don't have a front registration plate - but a new weapon in the police arsenal is set to change that.
Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail show in the last year 2062 motorcycles were unable to be identified despite being caught on mobile and fixed speed cameras travelling well in excess of the limit.
Motorcyclist obscures number plate as he drives past speed camera at 129km/hMay 6, 2013 Herald Sun - Article
Tens of thousands of motorcyclists nabbed by speed cameras are escaping fines because their bikes are not required to have front number plates.
Motorcyclist obscures number plate as he drives past speed camera at 129km/hApr 3, 2013 News.com.au - Article
A MOTORCYCLIST has found himself on the police radar after taunting traffic cameras by
speeding past with his hand covering the bike's number plate.
Speed Camera Avoidance Tactics: Some Legal, Some NotOct 19, 2011 Columbia Patch - Article
The ways motorists are trying to avoid speed camera tickets are as varied as they are creative.