It’s almost like something you’d see in a James Bond spy movie, but it’s a reality on American roadways today.
Drivers are using devices, both high-tech and low-tech, to obscure or completely cover their license plates to avoid paying tolls.
Sammy and Mayte Salinas were driving on the Dolphin Expressway recently in South Florida when they noticed a maroon Chrysler Pacifica with the Florida tag DSB5U in front of them using a specially devised cover that moves up and down over the plate.
“At the next toll by plate cameras, they took out their own camera and, sure enough, recorded as a black cover came down over the plate of the car ahead,” reported CBS4 in Miami. “After getting clear of the toll by plate cameras, the driver activated a device, lifting the black cover off the license plate.”
“It’s not fair. We all have to pay tolls, so why not him,” Sammy Salinas told the station. “That’s what the reason for the Sunpass is, for everybody that’s using the highways, so we all have to pay tolls on it.”
The video was shown to the Florida Highway patrol, and one trooper, Joe Sanchez, remarked: “Wow. Incredible … They’re getting very creative.”
“We’re going to be needing this video,” Sanchez added. “We’ll need it for our investigation.”
The minimum fine in the Sunshine State for obscuring a license plate $179. That does not include any penalties a judge might issue for toll fraud.
There are actually a variety of items for sale online that do everything from flip license plates to hide the letters and numerals on the tag.
LicensePlateFlipper.com is one location which shows how its device can flip between two different plates.
In its marketing, it features legal disclaimers, stating: “As seen in movies like James Bond or the Transporter. … Check your local laws and regulations before using this product. The product is great for use in car shows, advertisements or as a novelty / vanity and many more purposeful uses. We discourage the use of our product to avoid red light camera, beating red light cameras or avoiding toll booths or toll cameras..”
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