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Speed Camera Avoidance Tactics: Some Legal, Some Not

There are several tactics used by motorists to avoid being caught by a speed camera, but not all of them are legal under state law.

The ways motorists are trying to avoid speed camera tickets are as varied as they are creative.

But drivers be warned: Many of the products claiming to get you out of tickets are illegal. this week, and violators are subject to a $40 fine.

Here is a primer on the products:

License Plate Covers: License plate covers, like those sold by PhotoMaskCover claim to cloud any image taken by a speed camera. According to the website, each $39 cover is transparent if viewed from the ground but becomes hazy when viewed from higher angles.

The company claims that if a speed camera is mounted high enough, the license plate number is unreadable in the picture.

PhotoBlocker is a spray-on version of this product and is available for $29. This works only when a flash is used. The clear spray reflects the light, covering the numbers on the plate, according to the website.

License plate covers are illegal in Maryland. The fine for using a cover is $70, according to the District Court of Maryland. The law also prohibits selling or promoting the use of covers and carries a $70 fine for each violation.

GPS Locaters: The is public information and readily available online. A number of companies charge a fee to provide this information in different formats.

Beatthecameras.com offers a product called the GPS Angel for $129. It looks similar to a radar detector and is mounted on the dashboard.

The Angel uses GPS coordinates of known speed camera locations and an alarm system to warn driver as they approach a monitored area.

A similar service is offered by PhantomAlert. For a yearly fee of $29, customers can download the speed camera locations to a personal GPS-capable device.

Free smartphone applications like Trapster also use known speed camera locations and GPS data to warn motorists when they are approaching speed cameras.

Using a mobile phone or other handheld device was banned in Maryland last October. Later that year, as The Washington Post reported, the law was amended to include texting while driving as well, an offense that carries a maximum $500 fine.

However, according to Elena Russo, a spokesperson for Marlyand State Police, using a GPS device falls under the exceptions to this law and does not carry any restrictions.

Flashing Lights to Warn Motorists of Speed Cameras: Another tactic motorists use to avoid speed limit enforcement is flashing their high beams to warn oncoming traffic about approaching areas monitored by speed cameras or police officers themselves.

Russo said the flashing tactic is not specifically outlawed by Maryland transportation law, but using high beams within 500 feet of oncoming traffic carries a fine of $60. She said it is an officer's discretion whether or not to enforce the law in these circumstances.

Sherry Llewellyn, a spokesperson for Howard County Police, released this statement about the legal and illegal tactics motorists use to avoid speed camera tickets:

“The legal way to avoid citations is to obey the posted speed limit. We would hope that if there are other ways for people to elude the speed cameras, Howard County drivers would not engage in those activities.”

bill bissenas October 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM
This message brought to you by statists who believe they can spend your money better than you can. Remember, you must submit to property confiscation at all times.
Michael Berla October 19, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Bill: What is "statist" about enforcing a duly-enacted law? Do you not like speed-limit laws? Then work to have them abolished. In the meantime, as was stated in the article, it's simple to "beat" the speed cameras: just obey the law. Those who advocate flouting the law are knows as "anarchists". Between "statists" and "anarchists" there is the vast majority of us who are "law-abiding citizens who believe in a democratic society". Care to join us?
MG42 October 19, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Thanks for this article, I am starting to like Patch. I actually purchased the Photomaskcover and they work great. However, after I paid $60 for front and back covers, I learned that having them installed on your car is a moving violation complete with fine. Althought they are a great product, I would not use them in Maryland b/c of the laws against them.
MG42 October 19, 2011 at 04:23 PM
Michael Berla is completely incorrect about anarchists "flouting laws". Regardless of Mr. Berla's delusions, this issue is about revenue generation, not public safety. The van in the picture with this article is on Cars Mill road in front of Busy Park ES. No kids walk to Bushy Park. None. If this was about public safety, that van would be sitting in front of a school in Columbia. But it's all about money.
bill bissenas October 19, 2011 at 06:18 PM
@MB - see Ohai's response. If it's not about revenue, then the county council will gladly take the net proceeds from the speed cameras and provide a tax rebate for each household in Howard County. I won't hold my breath on getting a tax rebate because it's all about the money. It's simply another tax in the progressive cesspool known as Howard County Maryland.
Michael October 19, 2011 at 07:44 PM
These cameras are ALL about generating money for Howard Co., and have NOTHING to do with the safety of school children.
MyBrandy October 19, 2011 at 11:54 PM
OMG, regardless of what the cameras are for, there is not an issue if you simply obey the law. I can't imagine anyone can deny that Columbia/How Co drivers are AWFUL. No one stops before right-turn-on-red, no one stops before stop lines at lights, no one signals. OK, maybe not no one, but very few and many speed, tailgate, and run red lights. Its harrowing to drive around here, much less teach your teenagers to drive respectfully and safely. Just obey the speed laws for heaven's sake. And Bill, if you hate Howard County as much as all your comments on many issues indicate, why haven't you moved? Not trying to be mean, just sincerely wondering.
Brook Hubbard October 20, 2011 at 11:10 AM
I have to side with MyBrandy. Whether its for public safety or for generating revenue doesn't matter. The speed limit is the speed limit and was always the law. Suddenly when they enforce it "its all about filling the greedy politicians coffers"? That makes no sense whatsoever; I suppose every time a judge lays out a fine on a lawbreaker its about political greed. Not to mention, these are usually residential areas. Why does anyone feel the need to drive more than 12 mph over the limit? A speed limit is not set to annoy people; its set to declare the safe speed for that road. Most drivers go 5-10 mph over and won't be affected by this. So am I to take it everyone decrying this enforcement are heavy speeders who think the road is theirs and have no respect for others around them?
bill bissenas October 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM
MyBrandy: "Don't try and stop socialism, just get out." This is the essential nature of the left: Leave your home if you do not like statism. Yes, we have a long way to go in Howard County with regard to restoring an appreciation for liberty.
MyBrandy October 21, 2011 at 02:04 AM
Mr. Bissenas, whatever our differing political stances, I respect your desire to stand your ground and work for change. Secondly, does your remark about "restoring an appreciation for liberty" have anything to do with respecting the priveleges we all share on the road?
pd5 January 16, 2012 at 08:21 PM
It's really NOT that hard to slow down in the school zones which is primarily where the cameras are. We need to remember even brilliant honor roll kids don't always look before sprinting across the road. They do it regularly at AHS. I've only seen the cameras there a couple of times.
TRUTH March 25, 2013 at 06:49 PM
obey the law and you will not be afraid when you see a police officer.

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