Gov. Ducey OKs ban on covers shielding license plates

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(Source: File photos) (Source: File photos)

Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation that bans license plate covers typically used to prevent photo enforcement cameras from capturing an image of the plate. 

Democratic Sen. Steve Farley has been trying for seven years to get the ban enacted.

The Tucson lawmaker says his license plate cover bill isn't just about photo enforcement. Farley says the covers obscure the numbers, letters and tags during some times of the day and make it hard for police to read the plate and identify lawbreakers.

He says it makes no sense to require a license plate and then allow covers that can make them difficult if not impossible to read.

Such license plate covers generally run about $30 and are reflective. 

"Basically, when the flash goes off, it reflects most of it back so in the picture the numbers don't show up," the owner of a spy shop that sold the covers explained several years ago when photo radar was a particularly hot topic.

[RELATED: License plate covers are legal, but you could still get a ticket (Aug. 24, 2009)]

Up until now, the law stated only that, "A person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible." While the covers themselves were not expressly illegal, a driver could still be ticketed if an officer could not read his or her plate.

Under the new law, drivers are not permitted to "apply a covering or any substance to the license plate or use an electronic device or electromagnetic film that obscures from any angle the numbers, characters, year validating tabs or name of the jurisdiction issuing the plate."

Ducey signed Senate Bill 1073 on Tuesday.

[PDF: Senate engrossed version of bill]


KPHO/KTVK contributed to this story.

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