Do Laser-Blocking License Plate Covers Really Work?

Laser-Blocking Cover on my Front Plate

Written by Gregory Monte.

As I have indicated many times before, I don’t generally go to websites or other blogs to get answers to questions about traffic enforcement.  I either go to the original sources (statutes/case law) or I do my own personal research. Why should the question posed in this blog post be any different?

I bought two of these laser-blocking license plate covers a couple of years ago and put them on my car.  If you are not familiar with Pennsylvania, we are only required to have a rear license plate.  I bought that extra one for the front of my car to because I happen to have a Gadsden Flag plate there.

I also use a radar detector to make sure that I am aware of speed traps.


The Story from Way Back When

About two years ago while traveling on the New York State Thruway near Middleton, my radar detector let me know that laser was in use, so I slowed down from 75 mph to the 65 mph speed limit.  Then I saw a New York State Trooper ahead.  I was the only car in the vicinity so I knew that the laser beam was meant for me.  I drove past him, he pulled out and then started following me.  He continued to use the laser all this time because my detector was going crazy. I thought I was going to get a ticket.

When he pulled past me, I expressed an inner sign of relief – but then he turned around in his seat and I saw that he was pointing the laser at my front plate. At this point, I had no idea what was going on – all the more so when he slowed down and pulled behind me again. 

Finally his lights went on and I pulled over. He took a close look at my rear license plate and then went around to the front and did the same.  I was so nervous that I couldn’t find my license and registration. He said that I didn’t need to provide them because he wasn’t going to give me a ticket. He flat out told me that he was not able to get a reading on my car with his laser gun. 

After warning me that these types of plate covers were illegal in New York City (because they blocked out automated ticket cameras), he let me go on my way. When I got home, I removed the back cover but kept the front one on.


The Story from This Past Weekend

Fast forward to this past Sunday.

My brother bought tickets to the Mets/Phillies game at Citi Field in New York.  In order to get to New York, I drove on that same section of the New York State Thruway. Right near the exit for Route 17 in New Jersey my radar detector told me that laser was in use.  Just as I did several years previously, I slowed down from about 75 mph to the posted 65 mph limit. Sure enough, there was a NY State Trooper ahead pointing his laser gun at my car.  Once again, I was basically the only one in my area of the highway, so I know that he was trying to determine my speed.

Guess what? 

He either didn’t get a reading or just decided not to pull me over.


Laser-Blocking License Plate Covers Work

Before anyone tells me that cops can also point the laser gun at your front headlights in order to get a signal, I already know this.  But my guess is that the first place they “shoot at” is the front license plate, because it is square in the middle and easy to aim for.  That first “shot” is enough to give you the warning you need (by way of the radar detector) to slow down before he can try your front headlights.

And just for the record, I am not a salesman or affiliate for any company which sells either radar detectors or license plate covers.  I am just writing this blog post to help my fellow citizens avoid unnecessary speeding tickets. 

Period.


Note to Pennsylvania Readers

The PA State Police are probably going to be using laser to catch speeders later this year.  The PA Bulletin published on March 23, 2019 indicates the following:

Permanent Regulation for LIDAR for State Police and Automated Enforcement Systems, 67 Pa. Code Chapter 205.

Fall 2019, as Proposed.

The Department will be promulgating a regulation to define proper testing and calibration of LIDAR System to be used by state police and automated enforcement systems.

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