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Ontario signals need sync
http://www.sbsun.com/Stories/0,1413,208~12588~2859117,00.html

By Scott Vanhorne, Staff Writer

Why doesn't Ontario synchronize the traffic signals at Fourth Street at the Interstate 10 underpass? At a time when gas is sky high, a few cents saved here would help.

As red-light cameras become commonplace, some drivers have turned to special license plate covers to try and beat the system.

PhantomPlate.com, the maker of one clear cover, claims the device obscures plate numbers and letters when they are photographed or viewed from an angle, sort of like the funny mirrors at a carnival.

These and other covers that fit completely over the plate, even if they aren't designed to beat the cameras, are not allowed under California law when a vehicle is on the road. Covers on parked cars are OK.

PhantomPlate.com also offers a spray it claims makes plates reflective so cameras can't photograph them. It's sort of like taking a picture of yourself in the mirror, said Joseph Scott, the company's marketing director.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Tom Marshall said the spray could be considered an illegal cover under the law, but he wondered how an officer would even notice it without a really close inspection.

Some agencies that use enforcement cameras to catch red-light runners or toll cheats say both covers do not work. Yet at the same time some states are making the products illegal to use.

Scott said the company has a lot of California customers, but about half of the orders come from countries where speed cameras are becoming the norm.

Don't get PhantomPlate.com wrong. The company does not condone using its products to run red lights, cheat tolls or commit any other illegal act, Scott said.

"We are here to arm people to fight unjust tickets,' he said.

Well, actually, if the products work, customers won't get tickets in the first place because cameras won't be able to photograph their plates, and police won't know who to send the ticket to.

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