It was bad enough when there were only a few of the civil-rights bulldozing eyesores scattered around. Unfortunately, these out-of-control Phobocops are proliferating like whiteflies.
Photo radar was a bad idea that’s grown decidedly worse. Flying under the false banner of policing our cluttered roads against a so called rash of frustrated speeders and red light runners, they’re really nothing more than a way of extorting piles of Benjamins from the public’s pocket. Private companies like Lockheed Martin are making a fortune, and they feed police departments a shared income stream cities are growing dependant upon. As is the norm in our capitalistic society, the corporations are pushing for larger profits. To beef up the coffers, they’ve erected fresh armies of Phobocops, and are privately battling communities over quotas and shorter yellow light times designed to trap more “offenders.”
For every blatant red light runner punished, they zap the wallets of hundreds of harried businessmen and multitasking soccer moms caught between a caution light and the dreaded red. For Lockheed Martin, it’s like owning a fixed slot machine that never pays out.
Safer? Are you kidding? With people jamming on their brakes to avoid “the $200 drive home,” it’s become a Phobocop nightmare out there. Distracters claim that there’s been an alarming rise in rear end collisions at wired intersections.
One Arizona man has stepped forward to help his neighbors, and the whole nation, fight back. Mesa entrepreneur Dave DeGroote has devised a louvered license plate cover that works like mini blind, along with a spray that blurs the invasive and unflattering through-the-windshield pictures.
Regarding the plate louver, a flesh and blood policeman can still see the numbers fine. Elevate the angle, however, and you can say “sayonara baby” to evil Mr. Phobocop.
DeGroote insists his creation is an improvement on the mirrored “flashback” covers that often result in a ticket for too obviously obscuring the plate, and the magic license plate sprays that “don’t work.” In addition, the increasing use of infrared technology is making those defenses obsolete.
The legality of the “Loover plates” remains in that hazy area between civil rights, Big Brother, police discretion, and fierce photo radar company lobbying. “Loovers,” DeGroote explains, are far easier to see than a pickup with its tailgate open, or an SUV with a spare tire mounted on the rear. Tests reveal no obstruction at the required 100 foot distance as the statute requires – at least horizontally. Worst case scenario is a $50-$100 non-moving violation, “incorrect display” ticket that is rarely given, and you can fight in court. That still beats a $175, three-point red light offense.
“They’re absolutely legal,” DeGroote claims. “I’ve had cops on my tail hundreds of times, and I’ve never had a problem. I’ve had them on all three of my cars, and my boat, for the past five years, and have only been pulled over once. In that instance, the cop let me go when I explained they were perfectly within the law. ”
To prove his point, DeGroote once staged a mini media event in an attempt to get cited and create a test case, but the Mesa, Arizona, police, on the advice of prosecutors, refused to bite.
You can purchase a “Loover” for $19.95 plus $9.99 S&H, and the windshield spray for $22.95 plus $6.95 S&H, from DeGroote’s web page at http://www.loover.com. Those ordering on the web receive a membership to an organization called The National Association Against Photo Radar.
This is all a good start, but I prefer my more proactive solution. It involves the bed of a fast pick-up truck, a deer rifle equipped with a night scope, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, and one glorious evening of taking back our streets from the mechanical storm troopers.