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Study: Tough to Trick Red Light Cameras

By Jason Beahm | Last updated on

The Internet is full of information about how to trick red light cameras and beat a red light ticket. Much of the information is dubious. What if you argue it wasn't you driving the car? What if you spray reflective materials on your plates? What if you argue the light wasn't yellow long enough? What if the photo is blurry? What if you were making a right turn on red? The list goes on and on...

But one myth has been severely discredited, so we're here to explain it to you and help you save time, and money. That is the myth of the photo reflector or "magic spray," sold by a number of companies online. According to a 2007 Discovery Channel "MythBusters" episode, as well as the LAPD, the sprays and shields are not effective.

In the LAPD red light ticket test, police tested a product called "Photoblocker," which is sprayed onto a plate. They also tested a reflective license plate cover that is designed to prevent tickets from red light cameras. They ran each through a red light 160 times (with the intersections closed to prevent accidents). The tests were performed both during the day and at night. The results were then analyzed by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal.

The study concluded that the devices are not effective at preventing a red light ticket, LA Weekly reports. In some day time conditions, they did cause a slight reflection, though not enough to distort the picture. However, in some situations the plate shield increased the visibility of the plate. According to the study's authors, "All rear plate images were clearly legible, with no significant difference between the test plate images and the control plate image. A citation could have been issued in all cases."

Another point to consider, not only did the devices fail to live up to their claims, they are also illegal. While you are unlikely to be caught using them, they don't work, so save your money the easy way: don't drive through red lights.

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