Drivers face crackdown over 'avoiding' speed and bus lane cameras

Councils are cracking down on drivers who make themselves "invisible" to cameras to dodge fines for breaking rules. Drivers are using "ghost plates" to dodge fines, with the plates designed to reflect light in a way that makes them unreadable to cameras.

Wolverhampton councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for environment and climate change, has explained how local councils and the police are working together to roll out tech to crack down on the practice. He warned: “Bus lanes are essential for the public transport network to operate efficiently and speed cameras help to keep the public safe from speeding vehicles and reduce the likelihood of a crash.

"All motorists can expect to pay a fine if found to be using these illegal methods to avoid cameras and taxi drivers licensed by Wolverhampton may have their licence suspended or revoked.”

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Professor Fraser Sampson wrote to Transport Secretary Mark Harper saying the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system, crucial for policing and traffic management only boasts a 97 per cent accuracy rate.

He said: “The result is that the ability to frustrate the ANPR system remains staggeringly simple at a time when proper reliance on it for key public services such as policing, law enforcement and traffic management is increasing daily.

"Emission zones and other strategic traffic enforcement schemes put motorists in situations where they have to make significant financial choices and it is at least arguable that the incentives for some to ‘game’ the ANPR systems have never been greater."

He added: “Merely by applying reflective tape to distort part of a registration plate or purchasing stealth plates from online vendors, motorists can confuse and confound current number plate recognition technology and both of these are easily obtainable.

“One recent estimate suggested that one in fifteen drivers may already be using anti-ANPR technology; it is reasonable to expect this conduct to increase as the reliance on ANPR for new traffic management schemes continues.”