As Houston becomes the latest city to use cameras for red-light enforcement, police are warning that it’s illegal to thwart the technology. Starting today, owners of vehicles that the 10 newly installed cameras catch running red lights will receive $75 fines. The cameras photograph rear license plates, and citations are mailed to registered vehicle owners. Officials are cautioning drivers not to use clear sprays and license-plate covers advertised as preventing cameras from taking readable images of plate numbers.
Most of the stealth products create a glossy covering that sellers say causes a glare when hit by the camera’s flash. Pennsylvania-based Phantom Plate Inc. and other manufacturers of the products have gained business as more cities adopt camera technology for traffic enforcement. Phantom Plate’s most popular product, PhotoBlocker Spray, and other items are sold mainly on the Internet. Like many states, Texas makes it a misdemeanor to obscure a license plate, but state law does not prohibit sprays, such as PhotoBlocker, that are invisible to the naked eye and only affect photos. New York and Illinois passed laws in recent years against PhotoBlocker Spray, which sells for $30.