YAPHANK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — No doubt youâve seen them on the road â license plate covers that hide the numbers.
As CBS2âs Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday, New York State and Suffolk County police said they are cracking down on the illegal activity.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Criticized For Not Speaking To Inmates, Correction Officers During Visit To Rikers Island
Peruse any parking lot in Suffolk County, and you will likely find a bumper crop of license plate violations. They include missing plates, characters painted over or scratched off, and others hidden by tinted plastic sheets.
One driver didnât hide the reason.
âYou can’t do anything, you canât go anywhere â- and everything, youâve have to pay a fine for,â the man said.
Dark, tinted or curved covers make the license plates impossible to read. And yet, they are sold overtly in stores and online â marketed as the antidote to red-light cameras.
But they make it impossible for the public to identify a hit-and-run or reckless driver.
âPeople are trying to get away with it, sureâ a driver said. âI see that. Thatâs not right.â
Crashes caused by cars with license plates that cannot be read drive up insurance rates, police said.
âChances are that car is not registered and not insured, so now, you, as the proper citizen, you now take the hit of that and your insurance premiums go up,â said New York State police Major David Candelaria.READ MORE: Rutgers University's COVID Vaccine Mandate Will Stay In Place, Federal Judge Rules
It is prompting New York State and Suffolk County police to launch a crackdown. Come April 1, police for two weeks will be on the prowl for license plate alterations.
They said they are protecting their investment in license plate readers, which are needed to fight gangs and other crime.
âAll that technology and automation will be defeated by people who intentionally alter or cover their New York State license plates,â said Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron.
Violators could face misdemeanors, and even felonies. Police say there are no excuses.
CBS2âs Gusoff asked one driver why he didnât have a license plate.
âTo be honest, laziness. I have it in the back,â he said. âBy law, you only need one.â
That is not true. Two license plates are required.
âNew York State Law bans anything placed over a vehicleâs license plate or including only having once license plate,â Candelaria said.
Police said covers that obscure license plates have no legitimate purpose other than to violate the law, evade law enforcement, and leave others on the road with no way of identifying reckless drivers.MORE NEWS: Caught On Video: Community Refrigerator Stolen Off Midwood Street In Broad Daylight
New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut all require front and back license plates. Nineteen states require only one.