Amazon, NY Crack Down on License Plate Blockers

Amazon, NY Crack Down on License Plate Blockers

You see them everywhere – those thin plastic lenses that distort license plates and make them hard to read. The idea, of course, is to blur the images captured by speed and toll cameras, turning vehicles into “ghost cars.”

You may not see as many of them in New York City anymore. At the request of Mayor Eric Adams, Amazon says it will restrict the sale of smokescreen license plate covers and tinted license plate covers to customers with a New York state address.

“Ghost cars are by design unsafe and untraceable, so in addition to finding and towing them, we’re going to stop them from appearing in the first place,” Adams said. Amazon said it will also automatically display notices that these products cannot be shipped to New York locations.

The arrangement is part of a crackdown by Adams and the NYPD. The city made the blockers illegal earlier this year but that doesn’t stop speed demons and petty criminals from ordering the things from Amazon.

Cops are on the case

The cops are already on the case. In the first seven months of 2022, the NYPD said it pinched more than 2,700 vehicle operators driving with forged license plates. It towed nearly 2,000 vehicles with illegal or smudged plates.

Mayor Adams said ghost vehicles are fueling an epidemic of virtually untraceable cars that harm and kill pedestrians, bicyclists and others. Officials say obstructed license plates are often used to avoid speed and red-light cameras, resulting in upticks in dangerous traffic violations and convincing drivers they can evade accountability.

Officials hope Amazon’s commitment to restricting the sale of these products will set an example for other retailers.

“Amazon has been a willing partner in the battle for street safety and we thank them for working with us to keep New York City streets safe,” Adams said. “We expect all e-commerce platforms and other sellers to follow their lead, comply with the law, and keep these products out of New York.”