Louisiana State Police Cracking Down On License Plate Obstructions
If you have one of those plastic plates that goes over your license plate on your vehicle to “protect” it, you might find yourself with another ticket.
With the arrival of the Redflex Red Light Cameras in Lafayette, ways to ‘beat’ the camera showed up with them in the form of covers that fit over the license plate that ‘glow’ when light hits them, rendering your plate un-readable to the cameras.
The Louisiana State Police released a statement today (you can read it at the bottom of this post) reminding motorists that ANY device used to obscure your license plate is illegal; whether it be an after-market product, lights, license plate frame, even mud and debris.
So, for the sake of public safety, and to keep from getting a ticket, you may want to remove anything obstructing your license plate, and be certain that your illuminating device is working properly!
HEADQUARTERS NEWS RELEASE
July 28, 2012
Troopers to Target Obscured License Plates
Specifically the law requires that “permanent registration license plates assigned to a trailer, semitrailer, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle shall be securely attached to the rear of the vehicle and remain clearly visible and free from any foreign material.” In addition to naturally occurring obscurements such as roadway dirt or mud, license plates must also remain free of any novelty frames or plate covers that hamper visibility and prevent the entire plate from being readable.
While tinted, blurred, or mirrored plate covers are an obvious obscurement, clear plate covers can also scratch, become yellowed, or get cloudy over time reducing visibility. Moreover, the built in reflectivity of license plates can be significantly diminished by covers preventing a clear view of the tag information during dark conditions. Drivers are also required by state law to ensure that license plates are well illuminated through the use of properly functioning white license plate lights.
“The use of aftermarket covers for license tags has increased considerably in Louisiana. Most drivers are probably unaware that by using such covers or decorative lights they are probably in violation of the law. We are urging them to remove the aftermarket products now before being cited,” Edmonson said.
According to Edmonson this is a public safety issue. “It is imperative that the numbers or letters on the tag be visible and readable. When they are obscured it impairs accurate reporting by citizens who are attempting to provide police with information on reckless or impaired drivers, motor vehicle crashes, and vehicles involved in criminal acts.”
In addition to the countless criminal investigations resolved across the state from information retrieved from license plates, law enforcement officers routinely depend on registration information obtained from license plates while conducting traffic stops. The ability of law enforcement personnel to clearly discern and retrieve license plate information including stolen vehicle and fugitive suspect notification often times can mean the difference between a life and death encounter.
“Law enforcement professionals work tirelessly every day investigating criminal acts and conducting traffic stops across the state to ensure public safety,” Edmonson said. “While increasingly sophisticated investigative tools are deployed each day, the simple act of being able to clearly read and report a vehicle’s license plate is often the first step to removing dangerous individuals from our communities.”
Troopers and local law enforcement agencies statewide are partnering to increase public knowledge on Louisiana’s license plate law and will be taking appropriate enforcement actions when obvious license plate obscurements are observed.
For more information regarding specific enforcement activities and safety campaigns in your area, please contact your local LSP Public Information Officer. www.lsp.org/public.html
TFC Nick Manale
Louisiana State Police
Public Affairs Unit
Office: (985) 893-6250 Ext:628
(Via Louisiana State Police)