Print 75 comment(s) - last by Boze.. on Dec 26 at 10:41 PM

Using traffic code violations for fun and profit

A handful of Montgomery County, Maryland teens are purposefully using fake license plates to fool local speed cameras, breaking the law, and causing citations to be sent to innocent drivers.

The Montgomery County Sentinel reports the trend to be a fad amongst local high schools, with teachers and fellow students as the most popular targets. Fooling the cameras is easy: the students tape a fake license plate, printed on glossy paper and using license-plate-like fonts downloaded off the web, over their real license plate – then set off cameras. Days later, a $40 citation appears in the mail for whomever the fake plates are actually registered to.

An unnamed parent said students refer to the practice as the “Pimping” game, and some have gone so far as to borrow friends’ cars that are similar to the car they wish to prank.

Montgomery Country police installed the cameras last March, with the intention of reducing traffic accidents and pedestrian collisions. The cameras are typically found in residential areas and school zones with a speed limit of 35 MPH or less.

“This game is very disturbing,” said the unnamed parent. “Especially since unsuspecting parents will also be victimized through receipt of unwarranted photo speed tickets.”

Local authorities appeared unaware of the issue. Montgomery Country Police reported that they’d never heard of the prank, but told Sentinel reporters that they would “keep an eye out for the issue.”

“I have not heard of this happening among students [here],” said Wootton High School assistant principal Edward Owusu, where the prank is reported to have originated. “It is unfortunate that kids have a lot of time on their hands that they can think of doing such a thing.”

“I am concerned that someone could get hurt, first of all, because they are speeding in areas where they know speeding is a problem,” said Montgomery County Council President Phil Andrew. “It will [also] cause potential problems for the Speed Camera Program in terms of the confidence in it.”

Critics, many of whom have used the cameras’ automated nature as their main argument, now have additional all new reasons to oppose the cameras.

“I've objected to the robotic menaces primarily on the grounds that they were fallible revenue machines for the state rather than legitimate means of protecting life and limb,” said’s J.D. Tucille. “It never occurred to me that the [speed cameras] were also handy tools for wreaking revenge on enemies and authority figures. That was clearly a lapse of imagination on my part.”

Much to chagrin of privacy advocates, speed cameras and other forms of automated traffic enforcement are seeing increasing amounts of use around the world – and are becoming more and more sophisticated. Already a common sight in Europe and Australia, the speed cameras are a newer development for many parts of the United States.

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RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/22/2008 9:58:53 AM , Rating: -1
When my brother and I were in our early teens, we would roll with the handheld police scanner while performing acts of mischief for an advanced heads up. Back in those days, we called the day before Halloween "amatuer night." Some of the pranks in the bag-o-tricks were;

1. Tying a rope across street with one end to tree and other end to person's water meter.

2. Flaming road with sterno

3. Ladder in the street

4. Apples tossed at cars from woods around a corner. Apples were great because they were free off of someone's tree and had enough mass to make a solid thud.

5. Cable tv remote through neighborhood while looking in people's windows. Change the channels or just turn the tv on at 2am.

The scanner trick doesn't work to well anymore since most police departments went digital. However, the traffic cam could be pranked by other methods ;)

RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 12/22/2008 10:04:57 AM , Rating: 5
You're lucky you didn't throw an Apple at someone's car who is like me. You'd probably have gotten shot.

1. Tying a rope across street with one end to tree and other end to person's water meter.

Yes because potentially killing someone on a motorcycle is cool...

RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 10:17:16 AM , Rating: 5
You're lucky you didn't throw an Apple at someone's car who is like me. You'd probably have gotten shot.
And no one would've felt bad for him.

RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 10:47:38 AM , Rating: 5
I would've hated you as a child. And I hate all children that act like you did.

RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/23/08, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By notolerance on 12/23/2008 7:50:39 PM , Rating: 5
No. It sounds like YOU had a terrible childhood. I mean, what kind of parent lets their 12yr old child run around with a .177 and baseball bat at 2am in the morning?!!... not a good one let me tell you. Parental discipline is what you obviously lacked.

RE: ...
By theapparition on 12/22/2008 10:52:57 AM , Rating: 5
In hingsight, what we did was wrong and my kids will never participate in similar acts . The post about the camera reminded me of something we would have done, but taken it to another level.

Do you really have any idea what your kids are going to do? Boy are you in for a shock.

I had great parents that raised me "right". Yet I still did things during my teenage years that if done now, would have certainly ensured my expulsion.

RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By theapparition on 12/22/2008 11:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
Believe me, I'm not disagreeing. I was pretty mischievious, yet never got into any real serious trouble. As it sounds you were as well. Don't think that translates either way towards future success.

However, I feel for kids these days since the seemingly harmless acts would now warrant signifigant penalties. I mean, I got caught with explosives in middle school, and was back at my desk the next day. Now, a similar act would have me expelled, shipped off to a "bad boy" home, and who knows what now happens. Life could have been completely different.

RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 12:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
I mean, I got caught with explosives in middle school
There is absolutely no justifiable reason a student should have explosives of any kind in a middle school. That, and similar things that are strictly enforced today, is something children should be taught. If their parents aren't doing it, the school district has to.

RE: ...
By Aarnando on 12/22/2008 1:24:53 PM , Rating: 2
No, there isn't a reason to bring explosives to a school (or most places for that matter). His point wasn't that it's okay, but rather that authority figures are more likely to overreact these days.

RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 1:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
Explosives should be met with an iron fist, at least in my opinion.

RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 3:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
You can't defend against crazy, no matter how hard you try.

RE: ...
By hashish2020 on 12/22/2008 11:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
Have you never experienced the joys of cherry bombing?

You must have a terrible life.

RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/23/2008 9:41:39 AM , Rating: 2
I try to avoid doing things that damage someone else's property, or cause someone else unnecessary work. But I guess that's just me.

RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/22/2008 1:33:24 PM , Rating: 1
Kids, or the smart ones at least, have a way of figuring out it themselves. There has been much posted on DT about libertarian views with government, based on my upbringing and my wife's, I can make an argument for similar methods on raising kids.

Neither my mother nor my wife's mother lectured about staying away from drugs... yet neither one of us ever tried anything. Then there were the kids who had everything and got sucked into the drug trap. Those also were the kids with overbearing parents.

Personally, I feel the US does not hold minors accountable enough and should do less sugar coating at the pre-teen/teen ages. Why is it 18 to vote and serve in military, but 21 to drink? It pains me to even lie to my kid about Santa... and she is not even 4 yet. The last thing I want are two sheep for kids. However, in a time when less laws were more effective, Apparition and I figured things out.

RE: ...
By Spuke on 12/24/2008 3:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I feel the US does not hold minors accountable enough and should do less sugar coating at the pre-teen/teen ages. Why is it 18 to vote and serve in military, but 21 to drink? It pains me to even lie to my kid about Santa... and she is not even 4 yet. The last thing I want are two sheep for kids.
Hear! Hear! As far as I'm concerned, having your kids end up in the heard is as bad as them getting addicted to drugs. I "discovered" the Santa falsehood in Kindergarten and promptly told my siblings. My mother wasn't too happy with that but a lie is a lie. I've always been the rebellious type, even now at 39. I was more sneaky than anything and loved to see just how smart others were (adults and kids). God, I got away with a LOT. Even when I was in the military. LOL!

RE: ...
By tastyratz on 12/22/2008 2:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
sure there is.
and if you brought it to school, you weren't smart enough to leave it hidden at the bus stop. If your in middle school, chances are your not a terrorist.

A mandatory part of growing up as a young boy includes every precursor to serial killer profiles. Explosives, blowing stuff up... fires - burning lots of stuff... squishing bugs...

They are all part of growing up and standard mischief.
Now your labeled as a terrorist arson cricket serial killer and sent to midget guantanamo bay.

Most of these not so innocent things are all innocent in reality. I had the anarchists cookbook at 12 and made draino bombs for fun because I couldn't get the real stuff. The difference now is people are just scared of everything. Every kid with a firecracker shouldn't get his pilots license and every adult with a pic of their kid in the tub is a pedophile.

(disclaimer before anyone asks: We used to ride our bikes and wreak havok in some of the local empty construction lots near my house. Nobody or their house/car/etc were blown up or set ablaze in the making of this comment.)

RE: ...
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 3:03:43 PM , Rating: 1
sure there is. YOUR A KID.
Excuses like that make me think all hope is lost.

RE: ...
By MightyAA on 12/22/2008 6:59:33 PM , Rating: 3
lol.. a "mischief" I know of was stealing and setting off two tear gas grenades that the police brought into the narc's office. Why the school's narc needed to bring tear gas into the school and leave them unsecured would be my question.

We also rebuilt a complete vw bug in the principal's office for senior ditch day... several felony laws were broken, but it was a harmless prank.

But back on topic. The only reason this prank works is because the camera systems assume guilt without proving or identifing the culpret. As noted by someone else, had a cop nailed these pranksters, the kids would of gotten a ticket; there must be something to burden of proof and these systems bypass that right all together because they can't even positively identify the "criminal" (or even match up the car it sounds like)and force the defendant to prove their own innocense.

RE: ...
By Desslok on 12/22/2008 11:13:15 AM , Rating: 4
A baseball bat and a pellet gun? Oh yea! Those are sure deterrents to a pissed off adult/teenagers.

As soon as you drew that pellet gun all bets are off. The other person could just say they felt in fear of their life.

RE: ...
By Lord 666 on 12/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By hduser on 12/22/2008 12:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
One quote comes to mind when I think of pellet gun and Christmas time:

"you'll shoot your eye out" -- A Christmas Story

RE: ...
By CommodoreVic20 on 12/22/2008 1:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
Is it a small gun? Otherwise it might be excruciating if someone with shoved it up your arse.

RE: ...
By Lugaidster on 12/23/2008 11:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yet people give you a 5 because you'd shoot a teenager over a stupid prank.

RE: ...
By Boze on 12/26/2008 10:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with a prank is that you need to know your intended victim well enough to know their most probable reaction. When I was in the Navy, my LPO (Lead Petty Officer) did not take to pranks kindly. I remember in wintertime in Virginia Beach when he got sprayed down by one of the junior sailors with one of the fire hoses, he planned for weeks and weeks until just the right time and threw a bucket of scalding water on him in retribution that resulted in minor burns (non-permanent damage).

No one in that crew ever sprayed him with a fire hose again. Now in my case, I got caught with a few good pranks, but I viewed them as nothing more than horsing around and having a good time, and the people who pulled those pranks on me understood my personality enough to realize I would consider it all in good fun (although I would certainly go on to plan my own retaliatory pranks).

The biggest problem with youngsters pulling pranks is that they usually (but not always) lack the emotional maturity and the ability to understand people in general well enough to figure out the most likely action, and that's what normally gets them in trouble.

Bottom line being this, if you don't want someone messing with you, it'd probably be best not to mess with anyone else.

RE: ...
By Xenoterranos on 12/22/2008 10:23:20 AM , Rating: 5
I'm seconding the "would have gotten shot" comment here. If not shot, at the very least hit by a truck. Repeatedly.

However, it seems to me like copying some of the cop's personal car license plates and sending them a couple hundred tickets would be a quick way of getting these things taken down. "Pimping" a local judge or two would probably get the speed cameras taken down overnight!

RE: ...
By tastyratz on 12/22/2008 10:25:32 AM , Rating: 5
some things are funny.
Those are not them.

Halloween mischief that's a nuisance is amusing or minor in cost I will give you that. I have been known for ordering porn on ppv through an open window when people leave the room for a minute on halloween (they can always call to cancel the order) as well as tp, etc.

What you have done could have potentially killed someone as well as done extensive damage to personal property.
Let me say this in true holiday spirit.

Had you done that to me I would have kept driving to clip you with my car enough to break a bone but not actually kill you. Your lucky you never tried that with me.

I wish the same things to you some day and hope you total your car. Have a lovely day :-)

RE: ...
By marvdmartian on 12/22/2008 10:54:50 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, I remember back when I was a stupid kid throwing snow balls at cars, wondering to myself, "Gee, why do these drivers get SO MAD???"

Then I got my license, and was driving home from work one day when my car got hit by a snowball. DAMN!! Something just EXPLODED against my car!!! FVCKING KIDS!!!

Funny how ironic life can be sometimes, isn't it?? I hope your karma comes back to bite you some day, so you'll know what I mean.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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