July 03, 2003

HOORAY FOR SPRAY

Important information for those wishing to avoid tyranny:

Motorists have litigated against them, fired bullets at them and thrown garbage on them all to get back at the traffic cameras that have caught them in the act of running a red light or speeding.

Now they have a new weapon in their arsenal, and it comes in a can for $29.99. A clear spray called Photoblocker can be applied to license plates to make them hyper-reflective and unreadable when the camera flashes.

Buy it here.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 3, 2003 06:10 PM
Comments

Tim, the Vic cops are ahead of us already. If you get caught using that stuff in Victoria you get a bigger fine.

Posted by: Tony.T at July 3, 2003 at 08:08 PM

Is there anything they DON'T fine you for in Victoria? Escape, Tony!

Posted by: tim at July 3, 2003 at 10:04 PM

Ah, well, back to shooting the cameras, I guess. Remember, people, be sure of your sight picture, and squeeeze the trigger.

Posted by: T. Hartin at July 3, 2003 at 10:06 PM

You can achieve the exact same effect with canned hairspray, however rain will reduce the effect.

Posted by: Chris at July 3, 2003 at 10:26 PM

A senior copper in Western Australia appeared on the TV news last night, complete with suitably grave face, saying shit like "This product is a backward step in the fight for safer roads--blah, blah, blah"
I regret I am unable to report the rest of the statement, I was laughing too hard to listen.
Bad trot for speed cameras in WA recently, one was beaten to death by a bloke "wearing a black ninja mask carrying a baseball bat", and another was stolen and thrown in the Swan River about a week later.
Both cameras had the film canisters removed by the assailants:-)
The oppressed arise!!!

Posted by: Pete at July 3, 2003 at 10:48 PM

What about the untried and highly unreliable 10 meters of foil on the aerial? Isn't anyone prepared to put the theory to the test?

Posted by: paul bickford at July 3, 2003 at 11:11 PM

You go first, Paul.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at July 4, 2003 at 01:50 AM

I'm a conservative, but not a civil libertarian, so I have to say I don't see anything wrong with speed-trap cameras. Our taxes pay for the well-made, nicely maintained roads (usually) that we drive on, so it's the govt's responsibility to make sure they're safe. If you don't like speeding laws, you can always build your own road, I suppose. Seems like the prevailing attitude is "the cameras are interfering with my right to break the law."

Where I live, red-light runners cause a tremendous amount of danger to lives, and I would only be too happy to see cameras implemented at major intersections to stop those idiots.

Posted by: Amy at July 4, 2003 at 01:59 AM

It doesn't work. The tinfoil that is.

That stuff is great. Sure it's an offense to spray anything on your license plates but you can argue in court that it's to protect the plates from the elements, and you're saving the transport department in the long run.

I think KMart should import the stuff by the container. It would sell like wildfire. I'd buy a can for sure.

Posted by: bailz at July 4, 2003 at 02:01 AM

i've seen polarizing covers; from the back it's perfectly legible but at any type of side-angle it blacks out...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 4, 2003 at 02:05 AM

Got to say from my conservative freddom loving HQ's, I tend to agree with Amy, especially with red light runners. I have come very close to being made demised by these morons.

Posted by: Wallace at July 4, 2003 at 02:24 AM

At the outset, let me say I've been driving for 32 years, and have never had a moving violation.

Still, I would buy this product. The problem with the cameras is that they can't exercise any discretion. When the patrol officer walks up to your car on a traffic stop, he can size you up as a good sort or a troublemaker, evaluate your past record, evaluate the magnitude of your offense, and decide whether you get a ticket or not. I.e., the officer can distinguish between "the letter and the spirit of the law." The cameras don't: you just get a ticket, regardless.

Also, governments are using these speeding fines as cash cows. They have no interest in exercising any discretion. They WANT you to speed. Think I'm exaggerating? My city just dropped speed limits from 35 mph. to 25 mph. in town, and from 45 mph. to 35 mph. on the outskirts, then installed cameras, expressly so they could get more revenue.

Yeah, I know that if I speed I'm breaking the law. In principle, I agree with Amy. But the cameras just seem...well, wrong.

Posted by: RJGator at July 4, 2003 at 03:05 AM

Two words:

Saran Wrap™.

Works like a charm.

Posted by: Emperor Misha I at July 4, 2003 at 03:30 AM

"Got to say from my conservative freddom loving HQ's, I tend to agree with Amy, especially with red light runners. I have come very close to being made demised by these morons"

Yea, got invited to an unplanned short-distance flight by one last year when walking across the road =P Don't think he was speeding though, or I would probably not be enjoying Tim's wit right now. Cameras are ok with me as long as the govt doesn't start using them as revenue makers. (They will, of course...)

/GulGnu

-Stabil som fan!

Posted by: GulGnu at July 4, 2003 at 03:58 AM

Hey Amy, those red light cameras increase the incidence of rear-end collisions materially. Enjoy your neck brace. They are so bad that the insurance industry in the US is beginning to mobilize against them.

You might want to try looking both ways before you proceed through the intersection. Cameras don't stop cars.

Here in Denver, the speed cameras simply motivated me to hard-wire my radar detector. So in the past when I might have hesitated to break the law because I might get caught, now I don't hesitate if I feel like it.

Posted by: matt at July 4, 2003 at 06:43 AM

But the cameras just seem...well, wrong.

So, some people favor cameras to catch red light-runners, and cameras to catch speeders. How about a little CPU add-on that records your speed and notifies the local PD to mail you a ticket when you exceed the speed limit? How about a camera in your car to catch you using the cell phone, or eating, or allowing yourself to be distracted otherwise?

You may not mind ever more intrusive measures in the name of "safety", but I do.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at July 4, 2003 at 06:48 AM

Here in NSW when they first put in a permanent speeding camera it might not be marked for a week or so. That's how I got my last fine (just past the Kings X tunnel in Rushcutters Bay. But after that they are marked, so it's quite easy to slow down. Of course there are the hair dryer pointing coppers, but even they often now have a sign. One warning for those driving to Tim's celebration on Friday night, the old Bill likes to have a hair dryer squad in Moore Park Road. This is a lovely smooth 4 lane road that for some inane reason has a 50km speed limit. So watch yourselves.

By the way Tim, I'm sorry I won't be able to make drinks tonight, but I've got to go and billiards at the Roayal Sydney Golf Club.

Posted by: Toryhere at July 4, 2003 at 09:30 AM

Here in NSW when they first put in a permanent speeding camera it might not be marked for a week or so. That's how I got my last fine (just past the Kings X tunnel in Rushcutters Bay. But after that they are marked, so it's quite easy to slow down. Of course there are the hair dryer pointing coppers, but even they often now have a sign. One warning for those driving to Tim's celebration on Friday night, the old Bill likes to have a hair dryer squad in Moore Park Road. This is a lovely smooth 4 lane road that for some inane reason has a 50km speed limit. So watch yourselves.

By the way Tim, I'm sorry I won't be able to make drinks tonight, but I've got to go and billiards at the Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Posted by: Toryhere at July 4, 2003 at 09:30 AM

Running red lights and speed cameras are completely different matters.The former is putright dangerous riving, as also tailgating, enering lanes in front of cars without ensuring separation by distance and so forth.
One distinguishes between genuine driver error and deliberate dangerous driving.

Dangerous driving is the real bug bear.Not a day goes by when driving one has to avoid a dangerous driver. The worst examples, on a highway at 110kph, a driver tailgated so close that, in the rear view mirror I could not only see the whites of her eyes but also the pupils. Another, again on a highway at approx same speed, four cars ahead about to miss a left turn off came to a screeching halt and in both lanes.I keep about ten or so car lengths space when I don't have to overtake a car ahead,just as well. Another driver, a tailgaiter and needless to say, the road could have been littered with cans of sardines in tomato sauce.

The point being, fining drivers for being a few kms over will not make roads safer, and doesn't tackle dangerous driving, not one bit of it.

The cameras are just an exercise in extortion.

Posted by: d at July 4, 2003 at 10:24 AM

Driving is dangerous. Stay in your house and no one will get hurt. (Because everyone will have starved to death, but, well, at least no one got hurt!)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 4, 2003 at 03:45 PM

Will have gotten hurt. Subjunctive tense.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 4, 2003 at 03:46 PM

This stuff could be a great gag at wedding receptions, too, if it isn't too toxic.

Posted by: Harry at July 4, 2003 at 04:04 PM

I saw a documentary recently from the UK- Old Bill had all these techniques attatched to a divvy van and a motorcycle, then ran them through a red light camera- some were fuzzy, but the bastards had excellent enhancement software and could get readable plates in every case. It may have been staged, however, to stop hoons from using techniques that really do work.

Posted by: paul bickford at July 4, 2003 at 04:49 PM

Documentary?

That was 'UK's worst drivers' on Channel 7.

Posted by: T. Surprised at July 4, 2003 at 04:58 PM

So I'm easily impressed- I also think the ABC is unbiased. (It was also Saturday night and I was maggotted).

Posted by: paul bickford at July 4, 2003 at 05:43 PM

Bwahahaha! This old urban myth! Another net scam. Heard the one about the magic potion that can protect you from bullets? Guaranteed!

Posted by: B Morey at July 4, 2003 at 07:26 PM

A life of perfect safety, pain-free, is a utopian bloody dream. Amazing how many of our freedoms it allows the bastards to curtail, though.
Innit?

Posted by: Keith at July 4, 2003 at 08:35 PM

This is a lovely smooth 4 lane road that for some inane reason has a 50km speed limit.

Slow speed limit + radar/speed camera = revenue.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at July 4, 2003 at 08:47 PM

"Cameras are ok with me as long as the govt doesn't start using them as revenue makers. "

I nearly injured myself laughing at this one. Of course they are revenue makers. That is their one and only real purpose. Puh-lease. Get your local muckety-mucks liquored up and they will admit that all their parking and speeding "enforcement" programs are viewed and run as cash cows. If you doubt this, start a campaign to divert all revenues from these programs to some undeniably worthy charity, and watch the official response.

Posted by: T. Hartin at July 5, 2003 at 12:18 AM

Any doubts I may have had about speed cameras being revenue-raisers were erased when it was revealed that the expected fine revenue was *factored into* the Vic state budget.
In other words, they are EXPECTING, one way or another, to make $400million+ from the things over the next year !!

Oh by the way, shooting the cameras will earn you a fine and jail time and throwing garbage at them will get you a fine for littering.

See ? they've thought of everything....

Posted by: Osamas Psychotic Proctologist at July 5, 2003 at 12:45 AM

In other words, they are EXPECTING, one way or another, to make $400million+ from the things over the next year !!

Not surprising at all.

From a reprint of a Washington Times article:

D.C. officials have raked in more than $20 million in the first 15 months of the city's photo-radar camera program, exceeding revenue estimates of $11 million annually.

The revenue tally comes about two months after Mayor Anthony A. Williams said he wants to expand the use of traffic cameras because the city needs the money.

"The cameras are about safety and revenue, and the way not to pay that tax is to not be speeding," Mr. Williams said during a press conference in late September.

(Note: Interesting how the mayor referred to the money from traffic cameras as a "tax")

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at July 5, 2003 at 05:23 AM

I've always seen speeding fines as a bit of a stupidity tax, like lotteries. If tax has to be paid (not really a given) then let the stupid people pay them I say... Pissed me off no end when I got one the other day, though. If it had been a camera instead of a real life policeman, it wouldn't have survived the experience...

Posted by: Tim Quilty at July 5, 2003 at 10:44 AM