Howard County Speed Cameras Susceptible to noPhoto

But not all red-light cameras are.


Comments on an article about new technologies popping up that help drivers to avoid speed camera citations took issue with one of the claims: a new technology wouldn’t work in Howard County because the cameras don’t use flashes.

Ostensibly, that's because the newest gadget – noPhoto – uses its own flash to blind speed cameras. The noPhoto license plate cover has a built-in flash that is triggered as soon as it detects a flash from a speed or red light camera; it obscures the plate, distorting any picture captured by the camera. 

In the article, published on Friday, officials said noPhoto - as well as other product that depend on the flash of a camera to work – were useless against cameras that don’t use a flash “such as those in Howard County.” But that’s not exactly accurate.

“The county’s two speed cameras have a flash,” according to Howard County Police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn. Most red light cameras in the county also use a flash, she said, “With the exception of three.”

According to Maryland law, however, it is illegal to sell or to advertise such products that would “Distort a recorded image of any of the characters of a vehicle's registration plate recorded by a traffic control signal monitoring system.”

Speed camera facts:

  • The County has two mobile cameras which operate in school zones, Mon. - Fri., from 6 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Since Nov. 16, 2011, when the cameras stopped issuing warnings and began issuing $40 citations, 22,149 have been issued.
  • Since then, 19,246 citations have been paid which, at $40 each, amounts to $769,840. 
  • Forty-seven drivers who received citations have gone to court, according to Llewelyn; three of those challenges have been successful.

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