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Photo Camera Radar - What Is It? How It Works & How To Beat It!

By Richard Wallace II
Author of "An Educated Guide to Speeding Tickets-How to Beat & Avoid Them!"

This is article number five in a continuing series of articles I will be writing for Buy Radar Detectors. You can still view and read all of my previous articles at this website and all are encouraged to do so. You will be very glad you did.

In this, the fifth article in the series, we will discuss Photo Camera Radar and will look into what it is, how it works and most importantly, how we can beat it.

Photo Camera Radar

Photo Camera Radar is something that is still relatively new here in the United States but it has begun to pop up in almost every state. It is very widely used in European countries as a means of issuing speeding tickets. Photo camera radar works exactly like it sounds. A camera is attached to a radar unit along with a computer. The computer is programmed to tell the camera when to take a photo of any vehicle observed exceeding a certain speed limit. Some cameras will take a photo of the front and rear of the speeding vehicle in an attempt to show the face of the operator as well as the registration number of the target vehicle. Some foreign countries hold the vehicle registration owner liable for the speeding ticket even if they were not the operator at the time of the violation. What happens next is that the photos with legible license plate numbers are sorted out, the registration numbers are run into the motor vehicle computer and tickets are then mailed out to the corresponding registered owners based on the speed limit that was violated by the offending vehicle.

If You Have A Ticket?

A successful challenge to a photo camera radar ticket is achieved by looking at several important things. Statistics have shown that the vast majority of these photo camera radar tickets are illegible because of these reasons:

  • Illegible license plate number
  • Make and model of the vehicle is or is not identifiable
  • Indistinguishable driver or operator

If you have received such a photo camera radar ticket, immediately appeal it and ask to see the photo records that supported a ticket being mailed to you. Look to see if any of those reasons apply and then explain it to the court official hearing your appeal case.

Another popular strategy that many have used successfully is to simply ignore the ticket that you received in the mail and do nothing. Why you ask? When you receive a speeding ticket under normal conditions, you receive it in person from a police officer and many times you sign the bottom of the citation promising to appear in court. When you get a photo camera radar ticket by mail, you never sign anything. Legally you do not have to respond, appear, pay or anything else. The only way you will ever hear anything about the ticket is if an officer shows up at your door with a summons for you to appear in court. When you’re asked about the ticket you simply reply you never received a ticket, it must have been lost in the mail. Since most if not all local, city, county and state agencies do not send these types of tickets out via "certified mail" there is no way to prove that you ever received it. Remember, these types of speed traps are a business. In most jurisdictions the equipment being used by the law enforcement agency is on loan or is being leased to that department because a portion of each and every photo camera radar ticket's revenue goes to that company that loaned or leased the equipment to that agency. In these types of speed traps they just bank on a certain number of obedient ignorant people simply mailing in their fines pleading guilty.

When preparing to fight your photo camera radar ticket in court, be sure to check the admissibility of such a ticket in the courts within your state. Many state courts have deemed these photo camera radar tickets to be unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, many mentioned in this article; yet many police departments and their respective cities and towns continue to operate such traps because they know a certain percentage of the violators will just pay their fine and send it in paid in full. So do not overlook doing this important step in the fighting back process.

Typical Radar Rules Still Apply

Remember, radar itself has many flaws, so ask to look at the records of the piece of equipment that contained the radar unit. Be sure it has been calibrated, inspected and that tuning forks were used to calibrate it daily, which oftentimes does not take place. Almost every state in the United States requires radar units to be calibrated daily by members of law enforcement and inspected every 6 or 12 months by an independent laboratory to assure us of the integrity and accuracy of the speed detection device being used to nail speeders is in proper working order. Photo camera radar produces many false readings for sure, just as normal police radar units do that the police officers use every day. Be sure to read my article on this website about how to beat a speeding ticket issued by police radar, you will find it very useful as you prepare for your day in court in a photo camera radar based speeding ticket. For a more in depth look into the flaws with speed detection devices as well as many tested, tried and successful ways to fight back and beat a speeding ticket in court, you may wish to consider picking up a copy of my book entitled "An Educated Guide to Speeding Tickets-How to Beat & Avoid Them!" available for purchase right here.

Tips For Avoiding A Photo Radar Ticket

Some helpful tips to make your vehicle less noticeable or detectable to a photo camera radar station are to keep the license plate somewhat dirty or illegible. Or one can try taking off the front license plate so that the front camera cannot record the plate number. Be careful however, because in some states you can get a traffic ticket for failing to display your front license plate. Some motorists have painted their plates in high gloss clear coat paint to make the photos glossy and thus making the license plate illegible. There are also some special license plate covers and sprays that one can purchase right here at Buy Radar Detectors to assist you in masking the appearance of your license plate, thus avoiding detection by the photo camera radar speed trap station.

Don't Forget

If the unfortunate does happen and you get stopped for speeding, make sure you remain calm, be polite, cooperate, admit nothing including your speed, and if you plan to use an excuse, be sure it touches the emotions of the officer and it could work and get you out of a speeding ticket. Do not be afraid to ask for a break or an oral/written warning, and yes you can do this.

I hope this article, the fifth in the series has helped you develop an understanding of what photo camera radar is, how it works and operates and most important of all, how one can challenge, defeat and beat it in court if not on the roadways by use of either a license plate cover, spray or by purchasing the VF2 photo camera defeating device. I welcome your feedback, comments and advice. Please contact me thru emails at the Buy Radar Detectors website. Thank you for taking the time to read my article, happy and safe motoring and God Bless us all.