It is impossible that the whisper of a faction should prevail against the voice of a nation.”
~Lord John Russell

License Plates – Countermeasures

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Warning: Whether these countermeasures are illegal is between you and a judge, but I promise you The Powers That Be don’t like people bucking their system and if they can get away with it they’ll make an example of you in the hopes of deterring others.  Use the following information at your own risk and always hire an attorney – no matter what – if you’re on the wrong end of a courtroom.  It’s illegal for me to say whether I’ve tried the methods listed below, so if you try something and find that it works you may end up with other problems. 

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/09/trucker_charged_with_smearing_grease_on_plates_to_beat_gwb_toll.html

Passive Countermeasures

  • Infrared dampening is another way to go since most of the technologies are IR based.  “Laser veil” is a product that dampens infrared light very well while dampening visible light only a little. This could be effective against all plate readers, especially when used in conjunction with the above spray (spray the plate, then coat an otherwise clear plate cover).  You can also apply the Veil product directly to the license plate but I’d imagine the plate’s plastic 1st layer would soak it up too well, resulting in an obviously tampered with plate.  if you do this, dampen but then wipe off the brush when you apply it to the plate (“dry brushing”) in careful, quick strokes in strategic places making it look dirty. Keep a paper towel handy.
  • Retroreflectivity is the first thing to deal with since it works so well for law enforcement.  Spraying an ultrafine coating of lacquer over the plate would do it – this would cause it to reflect in every direction instead of just one and yet would look normal to a casual viewer. This would probably be very effective against some flash-based intersection cameras and some expressway tollroad readers as well as LIDAR speed guns.  An example of this is “Photoblocker” spray (It’ll come up in a Google search).   One can also get beam scattering covers that look otherwise normal – “Laser Shield” is an example of this and would probably be very effective as well.  Note – apply Veil before applying laquer.
  • Physical changes – note, directly tampering with a plate is always straight up illegal.  One could paste plain lettering out of construction paper, but that’s only effective on some license plates since the background is often retroreflective too. More effective to make slight changes from 5 to S or vice versa, for example.  Overall though, good old fashioned dirt is the best way to go – “Ooopsies, there’s mud on the plate, I’ll have to wash that”… assuming you’ve not washed the rest of your car of course.   
  • Removal – Not having a rear plate is much more obvious than missing a front.  One could also just remove their front plate and balance the odds of getting stopped with how much not having it might benefit – it’s a tradeoff.
 
Note – products that are plastic covers that have lenses on them to distort the letters from certain angles (such as “Anti Photo Radar Clear”) are a bad idea since they’re obvious.  Cops will see you have one and pull you over for obscuring their plate, probably making you take it off on the spot while they grumpily write you a ticket.

Active Countermeasures

  • The AL Priority (with “Blinder X-Treme” in 2nd place) is probably the most effective active countermeasure out there.  It’s very small so it can be tucked away into the front grille preventing law enforcement from seeing it, yet would still be effective against speed readers and highway tollbooths alike.  It’s firmware can also take upgrades via USB or Bluetooth (via smartphone) making it an excellent good long term investment.  This product could drive motorcycle cops to throw their helmets against the asphalt out of frustration… not that I’ve ever seen that happen. If you get and install this type of unit, it’s probably well advised that after it blocks a speed reader and alerts you that you slow down and then switch it off to allow the cop to get a reading. 

Updated 7/5/18 – the AL Priority is able to block the new laser guns such as DragonEye and Blinder cannot.  Blinder remains incredibly effective, but only where the older LIDAR guns are used.  Don’t be confused that they market it as a “parking system” (detecting when something is in front of the car), this is just because it’s otherwise illegal in many states.

Were you to combine active and passive countermeasures, such as the lacquer spray, Laser Veil and Blinder X-Treme, I’d imagine you could get complete protection at point blank range from LIDAR and be protected from highway toll checkpoints, causing you to get fewer bills (if any).

These countermeasures would also be very effective against law enforcement ALPR readers, allowing you to drive around town like a ghost… or a free citizen.  Pick your simile.

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