A new way to skirt the city’s speeding laws: novelty license plates.

2 minute read

October 5, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Yellow and blue novelty New York state license plate with NEW YORK plate.

Elisa / Adobe Stock

If you’ve ever bought a novelty New York license plate at one of those tourist shops in Manhattan, you may have bought yourself more than just a silly souvenir: it turns out they also “allow you to speed with impunity and never get caught,” reports Gersh Kuntzman in Streetsblog NYC.

According to Kuntzman’s research, novelty plates labeled NEW YORK have been cited by New York City traffic cameras and actual cops over 300 times. This became a problem for the owner of the actual NEW YORK vanity plate, who has never driven his car in New York. “The out-of-town guy's tickets are routinely dismissed because they're clearly not legit, but that's not the point. The point is, just as congestion pricing is about to start, there's an entirely new front in the war on fake plates and ghost cars ... and the city of New York is outmanned, outgunned, outnumbered and out-planned (as Lin-Manuel Miranda might say).”

While the examples given by Kuntzman in the article are humorous, they are also alarming—“especially because at one point last year, the DOT admitted that its cameras couldn't read the plates on more than 7 percent of the cars that were speeding or running reds, as Streetsblog reported.” This could have an impact on the city’s new congestion pricing program, which will largely rely on cameras for enforcement.

Monday, October 2, 2023 in StreetsBlog NYC

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