Attorney: Red light camera jammer is legal
TAMPA (FOX 13) - It's one of the most frustrating decisions you have to make as a driver: the light turns yellow -- do you slam on your brakes, or try to make it through? Adding to the pressure: Cameras are watching you.
"People don't like the fact that this is the big brother, these are cameras. It's causing people to stomp on their brakes because they're afraid of getting a ticket," Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon offered.
When you're caught on camera, that video is sent to the local police department, which then issues you a citation.
Now there's a way to possibly get around that: the No Photo Camera Jammer. It's a device placed under the car's license plate. When it senses a red light camera flash, it flashes back.
It's a flash that's so fast, it's invisible to the naked eye.
"When other light is introduced from another angle, it'll throw the camera's settings off and make the license plate completely unreadable," explained Pete Muller, who’s selling the camera in his Longwood store.
It’s guaranteed or your money back, according to the maker.
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American Traffic Solutions is the company that runs the red light cameras in both Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa. They say of the 125,000 violations caught on camera last year, there were only 65 times when the videos and pictures were too over-exposed to determine the license plate.
To be clear, this doesn't just include those over exposures caused by the jammer.
"This type of device has no more of an impact on violation capture than plates being blocked by other vehicles, plates being unreadable due to poor lighting, or plates being misread due to some other type of obstruction," a company statement insisted.
But is it legal? Tampa defense attorney Jeff Brown says, yes, since this device is placed under a license plate, it complies with Florida law -- for now.
"The law says that on your license plate, there has to be a white light to make the license plate visible by 50 feet. You can't have anything covering it so that you can't read the plate. That's all the law requires,” he explained. “There's nothing illegal, despite what they're intending to do, there's nothing illegal about this."
American Traffic Solutions says there are still ways to determine a license plate number if it's been obstructed for whatever reason. Their cameras not only capture video but also two high-resolution images. So even with just a few characters on the plate, the company says they have tools that can -- through the process of elimination -- figure out the registered owner of the vehicle.
And then there’s the price. The jammer costs about $400. The cost of running a red light? $158.