Traffic camera countermeasure

Don’t get us wrong, we drive very carefully as it’s the most dangerous thing we do on a regular basis. But even a careful driver can get caught by bad traffic and a red light camera. These are devices that monitor intersections. If you get caught in the middle when the light goes red they take a picture and you get a ticket in the mail. Well, that’s the way it used to be. This traffic camera countermeasure puts it to an end. As you can see, the noPhoto uses a flash of its own to overexpose traffic camera images.

The image above shows the prototype. The foil is reflecting a flash on either side onto the license plate using a flash sensor which acts as the trigger. According to the demo video after the break, the system can even defeat the pre-flash, and dual-photo types of cameras.

There are pretty tight restrictions on using lights on your vehicles (colors, placement, etc.). We wonder if this passes muster?

[via BoingBoing]

206 thoughts on “Traffic camera countermeasure

  1. Damn clever! First anti photo-radar tech I see that could really work!

    It just need to be integrated and well hidden. I wonder if a version with hidden flash detectors and high intensity leds could work?

  2. In Australia they also take an infrared photo at the same time which picks up the indentation of the number plate in case the photo image is over or under exposed.

    1. The nice thing about IR cameras is that you can leave a bright IR LED source on all the time to obscure the license plate, instead of having to time a counter-flash with visible light sources.

  3. > If you get caught in the middle when the light goes red they take a picture and you get a ticket in the mail.

    And so you should. Don’t enter the intersection if you can’t safely get out the other side. And certainly don’t use a lame excuse like that to post a “hack” which has no purpose other than breaking the law and avoiding punishment.

    1. In some cities in newyork and California the cams arent so much about safety because after some intersections got installed with cameras the yellow light duration was cut in half. Why would they do that if they had safety in mind?

      1. I’ve done some reading around the topic for the New York example, and I suspect that not many people who repeat this myth have done the same. News reports were published that said the timing of some intersections was below the expected minimum duration (not that it had been reduced since the cameras where installed and certainly not that it had been anywhere near halved). The city checked out those intersections and found they were set up correctly (maybe they fixed the timing, I don’t know) and that, in fact, some of the ones described didn’t even have cameras. This tells you that the timing was an existing problem that people only noticed because suddenly cameras were a thing.

        There is real research that points out reasons the cameras might be a bad thing, but just repeating old myths doesn’t help anyone.

      2. I should point out that even in places where they are known to have reduced yellow times, it was by fractions of a second and still within the regulations (i .e. they had a longer-than-required time before that). Though obviously this only applies to ones I could find

    2. There have been huge problems with cameras and the traffic lights not set properly in their detection. Some do not give the proper time to stop at the given speed limit before turning red, and then it snaps the picture for revenue. You can literally google the class action lawsuits from plenty of different cities about issues regarding issues with red light cameras.

      1. “It costs the City of Westminster more than $2,200 a month to operate a red light camera.”

        … seems to me someone is making a boatload of money selling/servicing these. $2200/MONTH?

        Put that money into employment programs …

    3. How is “breaking the law and avoiding punishment” a “lame excuse” to post a hack? ….

      If a hack can accomplish those things it is usually regarded as a success.

    4. Confirmed for someone who thinks red light cameras are an effective safety measure. They’re a money grab, pure and simple. Some statistics have shown that there is a correlation between red light cameras and increased accident rates at intersections, and there have been many cases involving yellow light durations being shortened to “help” the red light cameras catch more “red light runners”.

    5. In my neighborhood, Anon, the yellow light time has been reduced to 3 seconds at the revenue camera intersections while left at 4 seconds in non-camera intersections for the explicit purpose of catching people in the intersection and ticketing them even though they were going a safe and legal speed and driving correctly. You can try to spin it however you want, but the fact is that the sole purpose of these cameras is to make money.

    6. In St. Louis I entered an intersection while green, it turned yellow and then red. This all occurred in the intersection at 35mph. I drove to the police station around the corner and proceeded to threaten a lawsuit along with national attention. I never received a citation. I would have a great deal more respect for these camera systems if they were manned and random. It is all about making money.

      1. ah yes the damn red light cameras in St. Louis, my Home city! the ones at kingshighway and oleatha is always going off because that light is not timed properly. it is also a hazard for pedistrians because drivers get a green light and go to make the left hand turn but people who have the right of way are in the middle of the road so they slow down and bam ticket.

        fuck those cameras and I do not even drive!

        here is a like to an eye opener as well.

        http://www.insidebayarea.com/oakland/ci_21711099/ticket-revenue-factored-heavily-oakland-red-light-cameras

    7. “…which has no purpose other than breaking the law and avoiding punishment.”; ‘…which has no purpose other than standing in the way of using the law as an excuse for abundant revenue generation for tyrants.’ If that were not the case, these technologies would have been employed to _prevent_ real crimes from taking place, as opposed to stealing money based on an extraordinarily common traffic misstep. In my city, the people have had all red light cameras literally cut off at the base; they were able to recognize the con.

  4. “There are pretty tight restrictions on using lights on your vehicles (colors, placement, etc.). We wonder if this passes muster?”

    You wonder if something specifically designed to allow you to break traffic rules and flash bright lights randomly at other drivers will be acceptable? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no…

    (And no I don’t want to start an argument about the rules and if they’re fair and if we should be required to obey them. They exist, that’s as far as my point goes.)

    1. To me it’s less going out of the way to get away with breaking the law, and more taking efforts to avoid the undiscriminating and unreliable eye of robot tickets. Red light cameras simply aren’t that reliable. The reason they’re so popular is they’re easy revenue for the city.

      Take for example one of the local Red light cameras. Mischief makers turned it 90º so it thought all of the through traffic was going through the red light. A real police officer would never have fallen for that.

      But everyone knows the best way to defeat red light cameras is to have a friend drive so close behind you that no one can see your plate.

    2. Thats beautiful Kemp. basically, ” I want to say my piece but i dont want to hear anybody else say their piece. ” So why did you post? Beause you think your point of view is so much more important and correct than anybody else’s that it just needs to be heard for everybody else’s good? (I’ll be you dont even understand why this is a bad thing). Sir, if you are attempting to enlighten/ educate us, you should be prepared to answer questions about your position, so we can understand it better and maybe see as you do. If you cannot answer questions to your position, then maybe you should really consider why you believe your position if you do not think you can defend it. If you are afraid you will be unable to defend your position, um… maybe that should be concerning.. to you… dont you think?

      Also, if you are posting for discussion, discuss. Just yelling your opinion at people and then covering your ears is not really useful discussion. Do you think it is?

      1. I have to say, I’m not sure you read my post correctly. Or maybe you’re just here to argue?

        I didn’t say anything controversial, I didn’t force any opinions on anyone, and I didn’t say I’m not going to discuss my point. What I did say was that the answer to the question asked (possibly hypothetical as the writer seems to know the answer) was fairly obvious. I also said that I’m not going to join arguments about what people think about the relevant laws, because my point had nothing to do with whether the laws are fair or convenient for people. I simply stated how I see the rules applying. I expected people to be able to see the difference between the two things.

        Also, did you really come here a year and a half after the article (and my comment) was posted just to try to start an argument?

  5. I think this won’t work, because the cops will edit the traffic camera images later. Just 1 value difference between letters and background of the plate will be enough information…

    1. Hi Jim,

      I’m Jon, inventor of the noPhoto. Two quick things – partial plates are not allowed to be used for identification. If you head over to Scribd and search for Redflex, you’ll actually find some of their RFP’s and guidelines on identifying plates. Even that partially recovered plate is not legal for them to cite you from, so that’s still a win for the noPhoto.

      Also, you’ll notice a couple of things in that shot. First, we’re using aluminum foil for reflectors. The reflective of aluminum foil is only about 80%; the actual enclosure uses a mirrored surface well above 90%. Also, in that image the flash bulbs as well as the reflectors are several inches from the license plate – in the actual enclosure, its just a couple of centimeters. Putting the bulbs closer to the plate significantly increase lux, thus making the image even harder to see. Finally, you’ll notice that this is our earlier prototype with four bulbs – and that only one is firing.

      We’ve extensively tested recovering data using the original RAW format images, and since the blown highlights go to complete 255,255,255, there is no recoverable data.

      Thanks!

      1. 1. your shot is overexposed in whole of the image, a image of the police would be only overexposed in the area of the plate.
        2. If you really get a plate to 255,255,255 you’re save, that’s right, but I don’t think that you get a photo like that in a “real world scenario”. The proof of concept is on you ;)
        3. I live in Berlin, Germany and the Cops give a fuck about if its a partial plate or full plate on the image. So 100% 255,255,255 on the plate is the only change to get away without a fine.

        p.s. I think there are more traffic/speeding cameras in Germany than in any other country on earth, so if you get the plate work perfect, this would be a big market…

    2. Sorry in the digital world once and image is blown out like that no getting it back. Down load the sample img and try

    3. “Cops” never even see the images or the tickets. The revenue theft is all handled by outside contractors, from the camera installation to the ticket in the mail.

  6. In order to avoid using a flash altogether, you might consider other options for defeating red light cameras. Perhaps a sheet of something like smart glass could work (though smart glass cannot turn opaque fast enough to be effective for this application). Maybe you could coat your license plate in a reflective material and instead of blocking out your plate, change the reflections so it looks like it has different characters than are actually on the plate.

    1. Smart glass can actuate very rapidly, and this product is, in fact, available: http://flipaplate.com/smartfilm.html . I don’t think this one is actuated in response to a flash however. The venerable pi-cell (liquid crystal) can achieve ~50us switching times, which should be fast enough. I have also seen diffuse white smart glass and specular chrome looking glass that actuated fast enough to seem “instant” visually. I think newer version of plate readers use lower intensity strobed illumination with lock in amplifiers and as such might not trigger such a device anyway. Not that you couldn’t change your trigger mechanism appropriately.

  7. Bad idea… here in Brazil, it would be a bigger trouble than the ticket itself. First, because Brazilian law is very rigorous with “things around the license plate”. Second, most of the Brazilian traffic camera systems are triggered by a inductive loop in the ground, and uses infrared flashes or IR constant illumination.

      1. The madness goes back a long way. Stuff like this has been banned almost everywhere for a long time, inventor dude will figure that out shortly.

        Or he already knows and it’s a scam to rip you off.

        There was a phase in Australia where ‘un-obscured’ was taken to mean the plate had to be readable from the rear (or front). So what you’d do is add a piece of cardboard sticking out; it was still readable from the rear, but from the side it would block half the plate.

        Yeah, that didn’t work either.

        Maybe the instructions can include the old ‘send them a cheque greater than the fine…’ advice.

  8. What I am interested in is how they managed to avoid false triggering with that light sensor and a microprocessor… And, can the response really be that fast to flash the Xenons before the camera takes the picture?

    It would be very bad in the evenings when someone behind you flashes their high-beam lights :) You would be strobing all the way…

      1. No doubt…

        …I am a bored afternoon away from mounting an aftermarket fog lamp kit under my rear bumper with an in-cabin switch as a nasty little surprise for those people that drive behind you with their brights on.

  9. I’m not one to troll, you all know that, but SURELY something that’s designed to allow someone to BREAK THE LAW (even an unfair law is still the law) shouldn’t be promoted here.

    The authorities put these cameras there for the safety of all. I’d like to see the maker’s response on here to defend his hack after someone gets KILLED as a result of it’s use.

    1. Traffic cameras do not save lives or prevent accidents, in fact in many cases they increase accidents from people slamming on their brakes. Traffic cams are only there to bring in more revenue for cities. Private companies also profit from these tickets, which creates perverse incentives…

      1. People slamming on their brakes because they were speeding maybe?

        In the end there is a law and if you break it then you get punished.

        If you don’t agree with the law then there are two possibilities:
        1) You feel like you’re special and should be allowed to break it with no consequences. This attitude should be punished further.
        2) You feel the law is legitimately flawed or unjust. In this case there are procedures and methods for making your misgivings official or trying to bring about change. Sticking some tinfoil near your plate isn’t one of them.

        1. Clearly you’ve no idea what you are talking about.

          You still have to slam on your brakes even if you are 15mph under the posted limit.

          1. “You still have to slam on your brakes even if you are 15mph under the posted limit.”

            Ok, it appears I’m missing some important piece of information here.

            > 40 zone.
            > Travelling at 30 (probably should be going a little faster to let the traffic flow nicely).
            > See traffic camera.
            > Slam on brakes.

            I don’t get how that is a logical step.

      2. Kemp, you’re missing a step, which makes your argument idiotic.

        going 30mph in 40mph zone
        see traffic cam and a yellow light
        slam on brakes because you must in order to stop at the red light, ever since the yellow was shortened (because of the camera).

        1. It’s a little unfair to call my argument idiotic when I was clearly missing a point and had stated that I must be (also it wasn’t so much an argument as a scenario). I can only assume that things are different here (UK) and there (US?), as I don’t think they play with the yellow timing here. Also, most of the traffic cameras are on sections of road rather than intersections. Let’s put the misunderstanding down to regional differences.

          1. Kemp, good to hear from you. When we discuss we can all learn more and I now see some of your point of view. I’m suprised they are not jockeying with camera timing in UK, but I am not there, and I am glad you are so lucky to have an honest system. It seems you said they were speed camers on interstates? I guess yellow light timing wouldnt apply then. But its obvious here in USA its revenue, not safety.

            In the US, the red light tickets by camera are treated as parking citations (for severity purposes) therefore, they do not impact your driving record and are not even reported to insurance companies. As long as you pay them quickly and with no fuss, they just go away, and you can just get back on the road doing what you were doing before.

            If its truly a safety issue, things would be handled much differently. Want to get rid of speeding, remove the fines, make it 3 citations lose license for a year. 3 more, lose license for life. Then there is no financial incentive for law enforcement to encourage and aggressively try to get citations,and theres no reason to enforce the law other than any perceived safety risk. And i *guarantee* that very shortly you will have very few speeders on the road. Those who ignore the law will *all* eventually lose their license and be off the road. Do the same for red lights. If the law is so important to the politicians who write it and the police who enforce it then why not implement it this way?

            The reason is, it is not important to either the politicians or the police. They present a lot of hype, and many citizens buy the hype, but the safety issue is greatly overplayed and it is just an easy way to quickly generate active revenue and show police or political success, especially when the FBI shows a murder every 30 minutes and a rape every 6 minutes.

            Take the red light. It is very difficult to stop within 3 seconds on most lights if the speed limit of the road is over 35 and the light turns yellow right before you get to the intersection. Truthfully, as the driver of the vehicle, if I have a vehicle behind me with 2 kids in the car who’s adult driver is foolishly riding right on my ass, I could slam on the brakes when i see it turn yellow, but I’m probably going to pay the fine and continue through the yellow-red light to avoid the accident and the risk to the fool behind me and to my vehicle which I need for work.

            But, and this may suprise you, I am in favor of the cameras. At first I did not like the idea, especially the big brother aspect of it, but I as I thought about it more, I realized they are a good thing. Now speeding and red light citations carry penalties and punishment more appropriate to their level of crime, and *even more important*, the police are freed up to do more patrols of local neighborhoods and investigations of breakins/ assaults/ etc, which is what I am really paying my tax dollars for police to do.

            Imagine how many fewer burglaries/ assaults/ rapes/ murders there would be if every town in the USA had 3 extra patrol cars just driving up and down the streets 16-24 hours a day (vs hiding in the bushes on a major interstate highway on a flat stretch at the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere..)

            How many rapists do you think drag their vistims to the medium of an interstate highway where the strategically positioned traffic cop might be able to prevent the crime?

            Also, its *far* more fair. I cant tell you how many people who before were always saying ‘well if you just obey the law..’ who are now holding tickets from speed or light cameras. The camera doesnt care it you wear a suit or have big breasts or have a brother on the police force (and nobody can say those factors do not influence human-issued tickets)

            And finally, on a more strategic level, maybe it will change the average citizen’s perception of the police. Right now most interactions general honest citizens have with police is when they are being handed a ticket. Nobody says anymore ‘oh, great! the police are here!..” Let the cameras do the taxation/ revenue generation and let the police once again be the ‘Good Guys’ which they deserve to be. No cop joins the force wanting to hand struggling college students trying to get to their 3rd job a speeding ticket. Let them be the heroes they want to be. Let the politicians take the heat for their taxation policies.

          2. To my knowledge the system really is different here than the US. As I mentioned, most of our cameras are on stretches of road. That was where my confusion came in – if you’re cruising along at 10-20 mph over the limit, see a camera, and slam on the brakes over here then it’s pretty obvious you were in the wrong. The fact that you have lights involved in the US wasn’t clear to me straight away.

            “Take the red light. It is very difficult to stop within 3 seconds on most lights if the speed limit of the road is over 35 and the light turns yellow right before you get to the intersection. Truthfully [...] I’m probably going to pay the fine and continue through the yellow-red light to avoid the accident and the risk to the fool behind me and to my vehicle which I need for work.”

            Over here you’re taught that if you’re approaching lights and have any reason to suspect they’ll change soon then you slow down in preparation. It’s always possible to get caught out of course (and people frequently are), so we’re also taught that in the scenario you describe the correct course of action is to continue through the light. Basically, the course that minimises risk to you and other road users. Of course, if you manage this on a red light then you were driving badly to start with (though, again, the timing might be very different here and there, so apologies if it’s easier to “legitimately” run a red light there).

      3. @kemp- regardless of fault, I don’t want to get rear-ended. I cannot control how closely other drivers follow me, by 9 times out of ten, if there is someone behind me then they are too close for both of us to stop.

        My reaction time + the reaction time of the driver behind me + my mechanical stopping time + the driver behind’s stopping time + vehicle upkeep variables are all too much to be able to quantify in a ’100% of the time’ system.

        red-light-cameras are nothing more than a scare-tactic for alert and aware drivers and do nothing about the oblivious drivers that are the true cause of accidents.

        Want to fix traffic issues? Start taking motor vehicle operation seriously and not as a right-of-passage for 16 year-old CHILDREN.

        Start issuing graduated operators licenses that restrict vehicles based on skillset.

        Let’s stop with the 17 year-old girls in Excursions, and start with the ‘Prove you can safely operate a 2000+ pound iron, steel, aluminum and fiberglass death-machine.’

        Make it about utility again and not recreation as it’s become.

    2. I haven’t posted here before, but I had to chime in on this one. These are most decidedly not put here for “safety”. Since they put in one by my home, I’ve seen more accidents, more slamming on breaks, cars skidding halfway out in the intersection, and just general bad things. But I do know that the city is literally raking in the money from it. It snags 6mph over in a 25zone for a $100 ticket. The flash is almost constantly on at night. This stretch is about 1/8th mile 25zone (for no reason) surrounded by 35 zones.

      So while I don’t condone breaking the law, the argument that these are placed there for people’s safety is 100% junk.

      1. Seconded. I work in law enforcement, so I can say from the horse’s mouth that these things are about revenue and nothing more. That’s exactly why my agency has decided not to implement them at this time; the “powers that be” here are more concerned about the safety of the populace than the added revenue.

      2. I agree that the cameras are for profit over safety. The only way I see them ever being for safety or at all effective in this matter, would be if a majority of the intersections in the country had them so they became an expected element in driving. Just like how every road has a speed limit – you know it’s there, it’s not a surprise.

    3. Why aren’t you worried about people getting killed as a result of the use of these revenue cameras and the lowering of yellow light times at the intersections where they are installed? THat’s a fact that anyone can verify for themselves – take a stopwatch and go compare some intersections. These things make intersections more dangerous. Any method that can reduce the amount of revenue collected at them and cause cities to drop the contracts with the private companies that operate them is a good thing for public safety.

  10. So what’s the fine for getting stopped and having a cop finding this rig? (I see a new game for cops where they sit around intersections and just watch plates and see which ones light up more than the others…)

    Second, how many damn red lights are you running and getting fined for to necessitate building something like this?

    1. If the officer is already watching the intersection, they would probably just cite the person.

      In my commute I see a lot of drivers that travel too fast approaching an intersection leaving no time for proper braking; this would only allow them to be more careless. I can understand if the light timings have been changed (happened in my city), but I still do not agree with giving this product to the masses.

  11. This type of system used to be available commercially in the UK as a means of defeating speed cameras. The systems were originally derived from photographic flash repeaters.

    The Police got wise to it and started charging any drivers who had it fitted with “perverting the course of justice”

      1. > Shame that the course of justice had already been ‘perverted’ when they installed those cameras.

        You’re referring to the old canard that any traffic citation in the US must be backed up by the ability to ‘face your accuser’ when the ticket is issued, an overextension of the US 6th Amendment which promises that you can be ‘confronted with the witnesses against’ you at your trial.

        But, that’s the US. Rich was referring to the UK, which uses a different legal system from the US.

  12. So lets see.

    During the day, the camera doesn’t use the flash.

    Now what?

    Or flash twice with two cameras. First triggers the car’s flash. The second takes the picture whilst the car’s flash is recharging.

    1. Hi,

      All cameras use flashes currently in the US; I can’t speak definitively for overseas, but I haven’t encountered one yet that doesn’t flash at all times. Some use infrared flashes, which are invisible to the human eye, but the noPhoto can detect those as well.

      Second, if you watch the video, you’ll clearly see that the noPhoto can react to multiple pictures just fine.

      Thanks!

  13. It depends on the law. If these become common, they’ll just pass a local ord. on it and make it a fat fine, if it becomes a bigger problem, the state will pass a law. A lot of things are used in the ECM war against LEO’s and most of them are illegal on face value, but if busted and the cop is smart enough to figure out what it is, obstruction of justice or interfering with a LEO in the commision of his duties is not a friendly charge to have to deal with. And spending a lot of time in ohio, where this plate is from, I know running red lights is a major problem there. I sometimes wonder what cereal box ohio drivers obtain their licenses from!

  14. I don’t like neither the idea nor the execution with tinfoil etc. Also, it cannot be properly tested under field conditions, as any attempt that isn’t successful would result in severe fines. At least that’s the state here in Germany. If you try to counterflash traffic cameras you could easily lose your license for good, as you “demonstrate to not be of suitable character to carry one”, or something along these lines.

    1. You give away your mental age by throwing around vulgar insults….did the guy even say if he was even planning to install it on his car? He was only showing off the tech… let him work out the moral details.

  15. “Getting caught in the intersection” doesn’t get you a red light camera ticket. You have to ENTER the intersection after the light turns red. Careful drivers don’t get red light camera tickets.

    1. Being in the intersection when the light turns red is enough.

      Here in AZ these cameras are pretty damn rare still and they would be a nightmare. We don’t require left turn lights at most intersections so usually at least one car is in the intersection waiting for a break in oncoming traffic to make a left turn.

  16. Not working since years. The cameras are aware of this. And, as bonus, in Germany your car would be seized if it is equipped with such a device. Plus your driver licence will be suspended until you prove that you are not too metally ill to drive a car (success rate under 50%, 1 try / year, fee approx. $750 / try).

  17. With shutter speeds below 1/1000 of a second and video traffic surveilance this thing is simple useless.

    By the time the flash detector triggered,
    the photo is already being uploaded to the server.

    Getting it to work with a DSLR is a no brainer.
    Getting it to work with surveilance equipment is impossible.

    Didn’t onLive just stumble over the speed of light limit?

  18. Very cool! It’d be awkward for it to be set off by a quick reflection from another car or something, though.

    Representin’ Ohio!

  19. I see a “better” use of it as a retaliation device against people flashing their high beams at me with no valid excuse..

    *FLASH* booom, wall takedown!

  20. These camera systems are simply ways to enforce additional taxes on people that are in a hurry and since you lose due process because you cannot challenge these cameras in court, i sere defeating them as a form of civil disobedience fully supported by the US Constitution.

    PS, while working in an electronics retailer, i helped a customer build a small unit that flashed varying intensity infra red back at the camera to blow is focus, he also strobed a hid led.

    I never got to find out if it worked, but i think of it every time i use that intersection near my home that he was complaining about.

  21. Amateurs. Everyone knows you should use the James Bond approved, Q designed spinning license plate rolodex tool. That way, you can change the plate on the fly and not give the appearance of doing anything wrong.

    And if a cop tries to pull you over, just activate your oil slick. Then pull into your mobile tractor trailer base.

  22. In Hungary, cameras were largely succeeded by high-speed video cameras, which don’t use flashes. Hence, speed traps and such devices are no longer detectable or defeatable.

  23. Don’t fall for red light “tickets” in the first place. they are not real tickets and are not legally enforceable. I had an employee get one in my company pickup getting parts and I red all of the laws about a ticket (uniform traffic citation) The “ticket” was not actually a ticket, but instead was a “notice of liability” I brought all of my findings and fought the “ticket”. the county prosecutor told me i was right about everything i said, dropped it (without going to court though, which proves there was nothing “legal” about it to start with) and asked me to let people know that there is a traffic standard for the minimum time a light is yellow. Areas with red light cameras typically set the yellow times on their stop lights to the minimum, where other areas without cameras set them to 1.5 or 2 times the minimum. You can even “fight” a red light ticket by doing nothing. since it’s not a real ticket, you have to be criminally charged before anything can happen to you.

    1. Yeah you keep believing that and when it happens to you and you think aww who cares you can bet that with in 90 days you are driving on a suspended license.

      1. actually i have ignored every one ive gotten. ive had my license run and didnt get arrested, i have nothing. it is not a citation..

        it is a request for admission of guilt. think about that. they need you to admit you broke a law. read it.

  24. Most cameras will show infrared light as a huge blob, but it is invisible to the naked eye. simply, put a bunch of IR LEDS which are kept on all the time the car is running. The number plate will show up as a similar washed out rectangle on the camera.

    1. Hi Rupin,

      This was the first thing we tried. Even with massive arrays of 20+ 10w IR LED’s, they weren’t even close to bright enough during the day. It sort of works at night though – it does defeat infrared flash cameras, but not visible light flashes.

      That’s why we had to use Xenon’s – 100% performance 100% of the time.

  25. I swear, every time I think of something genius, someone else steals my thoughts… Now that my idea is out here I’ll give up some of the minor details…

    Make the bracket include a piece of acrylic that covers the whole plate with random pattern milled into it and edge lit with infra red LEDs so that when it happens, nobody around you is any the wiser…

    1. Some places (states?) forbid the use of any covering or grill over the license plate…

      I can see why, a lot of clear plastic gets opaque after a while in The Sun.

    1. Maybe you don’t understand the situation or have never been involved in any kind of civil or criminal proceedings so let me school you for just a sec. If any traffic charge is brought against you, YOU LOSE. Anything from DUI to to rolling through a stop sign to no signaling when trying to merge into traffic. It most assuredly is the best way for the local and state bodies to squeeze more money out of people. There need be only a cop that says you did it and their word and you lose, no evidence, no trial, no nothing. It’s this way because if you were to try and fight you would end up spending more in fees than protecting yourself rather than pay the fine. You literally have no recourse when issued such a ticket because many times these cameras are used to “ticket the vehicle” which is term for lazy cops and corrupt politicians. Grand Rapids has such a system for speed enforcement and it’s no longer a “innocent until proven guilty scenario (like there ever was)” If the camera sees you and thinks your speeding you get an automatic ticket. No court, no officer writing the ticket,no one to confirm it was you, simply a $100 fine that you pay or you go to civil court over the matter which is a waste of time because you will lose. It’s not about right or wrong anymore it’s about protecting yourself from overreaching institutions. Don’t kid yourself, police are already testing new ways to go after people who text and drive by using taller vehicles and photographing their phone screens.

  26. Here in Texas this would not work. The traffic light cameras also shoot video before the license plate is photographed. The reviewing policeman would probably not be very happy to see the plate turn white…

  27. i call fail on 3 points.
    1) Like Jim did earlier, I was able to pull the ID out just by altering contrast/brightness (although my quick results only gave a couple letters)

    2) anytime a headlight, reflection would hit the sensor, the flash would go off. Get a motorcycle behind you with a bouncy headlight and you would have more flashes than Girls Gone Wild.

    3) Any flashing light to the rear that is not red or amber is illegal. I would even have to say reflected light, that is why the neon/LED under car lights are illegal even when you can’t see the bulbs. Plus turn signals have a min/max time they have to adhere to. A strobe or quick flash is illegal even red. I had researched making my turn signals pulse quickly.

    1. 1) Most places cannot use partial plates. They can however give you an “unofficial” hard time.

      2) Good. Keep those damn things off the road (the bouncy/flashy lights, not the bikes themselves). I swear, those things have gotten me into near misses than anything else. So distracting.

      3) Plenty of available-to-the-public lightbars have yellow or white strobes. Tow trucks and school buses (and other work vehicles) have them all the time.

  28. If you ever receive a traffic-cam citation in the mail, simply take a picture of
    the money they say is due and mail it back to them. Tit for tat.

    If that doesn’t suit you, ask for a day in court so you can face your accuser.

    And.. if they just happen to have a camera in court for this very reason, be
    certain that it is the exact unit from the alleged intersection where the said
    infraction took place.

    U.S. Constitution Amendment VII – Right of Trial By Jury
    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars,
    the Right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall
    be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the
    rules of the common law.

  29. I wonder how long it’s going to be until [nolimits] gets a knock on the door now that his intention to encourage others to break the law is public knowledge.

    Look out for that black pizza van parked opposite your house, mate.

    Try turning this idea for something lawful, like anti-photo protection for, say art galleries or copyrighted images in public.

  30. This works when standing 6 ft away but what about when the camera is placed 20ft up on top of a pole? And what about the IR pic?

  31. Wow the “cloverism” is thick in this thread. http://lewrockwell.com/peters-e/peters-e65.1.html

    Look, it’s never about safety. Never was, and a friend of mine who fights towns about implementing cameras has found that the lobbyists who sell traffic cameras are not just good honest people selling cameras. There’s a lot of corruption around this topic.

    I am wondering, a bright flash is too visible to the naked eye. Would some high power IR LEDs or a diffused IR Laser against the tag work better as a more “stealth system”. I can see, with the support of some of the “law uber alles” crowd in this thread, the cops declaring this system “obstruction of justice” (Justice: extracting your money to pay for the fat cops medical bills, that of his fat wife and fat kids and all their problems hence the need to bleed everybody over every little thing). Some kind of IR-based system might be needed.

    1. “a friend of mine who fights towns about implementing cameras”

      That is a guy who believes the cameras are a bad thing and is (I assume) mature enough to tackle it the right way. Taping tinfoil around your plate is nowhere near the right way and doesn’t give the police or the city any reason to change anything except the amount they’re fining you.

    1. As I’ve said in a few other posts – people who care about the legitimacy of the cameras find ways to combat them at the source. People who sit idly complaining about the system and taping tin foil around their plates are not having an effect on anything.

      1. I should sell ‘awareness’ badges, that seems to work for everything else.

        Perhaps a ribbon too – red of course.

        For every purchaser of this device: if you send me a copy of your fine, I’ll send to a magnetic ribbon for your car. Deal?

      2. For sheer amusement, I had a look at the regulations for display of licence plates in various countries.

        The UK site was the easiest to read, and this device appears to break their legislation in at least three ways.

        First up, the plate must be lit so it’s visible at a certain distance. Firing a strobe makes that a bit tricky. Strike 1. (You may be able to argue that one.)

        Secondly, you’re not allowed to make the letters shiny, i.e. contrast between plate & letters must be maintained. Strike 2.

        Thirdly, it bluntly says if you make it hard to photograph, then you’re being naughty. Strike 3.

        Here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/561/regulation/11/made

        I assume every other place on the planet has similar laws.

        Ah well, so much for a legit product. He’ll just scam your money and run away instead.

  32. Would using several high intensity IR leds do the same job? I mean the IR can’t be detected by sight, so a police officer won’t see it, but the tag will be blocked to traffic cams and not to mention the Google vans lol.

  33. This is a neat idea, however, here in Chicago you get a picture and a video clip so even if this defeated the picture they would still have a video clip of the plate.

  34. This is not the way to do it. All you need is some of that auto whiteout glass that when power is applied, the film turns almost solid white. It can be placed over a license plate and turned on and off to hide and unhide the license plate.

  35. This isn’t a hack (sorry to say not a hack) it’s a $350 commercial product…. $350?!?!? really? On a site like this I must say people could make it cheaper. Someone should do a DIY version of this just to spite this blatant advertisement.

  36. I would like to point out how the ‘inventor’ keeps posting and defending his product on this site.

    HAD is for posting hacks, not for hawking your overprices wares.

  37. The pros use physical devices like license plate covers which slide down, or extra plates which flip. If they don’t match the car, the image can’t be used.

    Could also use paper-lcd style display stuff (think kindle) as a license plate, put a standard license plate cover over it to remove the usual ’3d’ stamped effect, and voila, you have your solution. Switched one way it’s your plate, flip a switch and it disappears, or becomes a different plate. System can’t tell a difference, cops won’t either unless you get pulled over and they start eyeing it real close. A scratched up license plate cover works best.

    The system is pretty much automated with some human analysis added in. In the areas where it’s not for safety it’s just for revenue, they don’t interact on a legal standpoint with the police, so the bad match gets kicked to the curb.

  38. And when the Police pull up behind this guy, the lights on the Cruiser are going to make it go nuts. cool design, no practical application in the real world.

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