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Why do drivers cover & deface their license plates? News 12 took a ride with Nassau police to find out

Sgt. Santo Scavuzzo, with Highway Patrol, said the license plate covers came into existence in New York City when traffic light cameras and speed cameras were installed.

Rob Taub

Nov 21, 2023, 10:13 PM

Updated 214 days ago

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News 12 went on an exclusive ride-along with Nassau police, who are cracking down on covered, defaced and obstructed license plates.
Sgt. Santo Scavuzzo, with Highway Patrol, said the license plate covers came into existence in New York City when traffic light cameras and speed cameras were installed.
He said the cover causes the camera to take a distorted image of the plate, thus preventing a ticket.
Sgt. Scavuzzo pulled over four drivers on Tuesday. Two of the vehicles had license plate covers, one had the license plate partially blocked by a tether and the other had paint missing from its left side.
Authorities said there are various reasons people cover and deface their plates, including to avoid tickets from traffic cameras and for privacy reasons.
Nassau County police issued 2,988 tickets for covered, defaced, obstructed and dirty plates this year. One of those tickets was issued during the ride-along. Others received warnings on Tuesday.
A Nassau police spokesman said a driver could face a $200 fine for the offense plus an $88 surcharge if found guilty of a license plate violation.


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