In line with a legislation handed by the New York City Council final spring, the sale of something that obscures a car license plate is now banned within the 5 boroughs. However that hasn’t stopped a number of the greatest names in auto components from cashing in on plastic plate covers.
On a procuring journey for car equipment, the I-Crew discovered clear and even tinted plate covers overtly bought at metropolis retailers together with AutoZone, Advance Auto Elements, and AutoPlus, the corporate that shares cabinets at Pep Boys.
“People are trying to beat the system,” mentioned Council Member Robert Holden (D-Maspeth), who authored NYC Native Law 22, which he says outlawed the sale of something that covers car tags in New York City.
Holden mentioned he determined to draft the laws after his car bought caught behind one other driver utilizing an elaborate retractable curtain to cowl the tag on the again of his SUV.
“He had one of those ‘James Bond’ type curtains that would go over his license plate and we said — how is this happening, who’s buying these, where are these?” mentioned Holden. “And then we started looking and we found Amazon is selling them.”
Amazon has since come to an settlement with the Eric Adams administration to cease promoting plate covers to NYC residents. However the I-Crew discovered loads of brick and mortar shops persevering with to inventory their cabinets with plastic bubbles that screw on prime of license plates.
After contacting the businesses about their continued sale of the merchandise, Advance Auto Elements responded by pledging to instantly rid racks of the plate covers.
“All New York City Advance stores will have all license plate covers removed from shelves by the end of the day,” wrote firm spokesman Darryl Carr.
The opposite corporations didn’t instantly reply to the I-Crew’s inquiry.
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Holden mentioned it’s laborious to maintain the businesses sincere, partly as a result of the legislation solely requires a fantastic of between $300 and $500 for shops caught promoting plate covers within the metropolis. He now needs to extend the penalties and can be calling on the police that monitor metropolis bridges and tunnels for anti-terror functions to drag extra automobiles over for different causes.
“We should put the State Troopers to work not only just monitoring bridges and tunnels,” Holden mentioned. “They should actually be looking for these plates.”
Final 12 months, the MTA held a information convention pleading with drivers to cease utilizing plate covers as they cross tri-state bridges and tunnels. The company blamed lined, altered or defaced tags for one thing near $50 million in misplaced toll income final 12 months.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Daniel DeCrescenzo additionally emphasised a false impression drivers have – that see-through plate covers are OK to make use of. As a result of some tolls and pace cameras use flash images, that burst of sunshine can create a glare on plastic, making it tough for cameras to make out letters and numbers behind even plastic that isn’t tinted.
“Even a clear cover is illegal,” DeCrescenzo mentioned.
The MTA is renewing its effort to focus on toll evaders who use pretend license plates to idiot plate readers. Andrew Siff stories.