License to Ill: More Drivers With Bogus Plates Evading Traffic Cams, Costing NYC Up to $75M

Misplaced or covered-up license plates have allowed drivers to evade red light or speeding camera tickets 1.5 million times since the pandemic hit in March 2020 — and the problem was getting worse in recent months, records obtained by THE CITY show.

Delinquent drivers do everything from bending their license plates to putting plastic covers over them to spraying various chemicals to make it impossible for the cameras to accurately read them, according to city Department of Transportation officials…

The issue has long plagued the cameras but the number of unreadable images has gone from roughly 1% or lower of all the tickets issued each month from January 2016 until March 2020 to nearly 4% in December 2021, the most recent month available via records obtained through the Freedom of Information Law.