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New products aim to foil red-light cameras, but do they work?

Police are warning about new products on the market designed to make your license plate invisible to cameras at red lights.
/ Source: TODAY

Nowadays a lot of traffic intersections have cameras installed to try and stop drivers from running through red lights. Officials say the cameras work: In cities with cameras, fatalities from red-light running dropped 21 percent.

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But now police are warning about new products on the market designed to make your license plate invisible to cameras, including reflective gel, reflective spray and a sensor that shines a burst of light onto the plate so the camera can't see it.

"Unfortunately a result will be more T-bone accidents," said police chief Jeff O'Dell of the Kissimmee, Florida police department. "And those are the most dangerous we face."

Besides, O'Dell added, people who buy such products may not even get what they're paying for.

Working with Kissimmee police in an intersection blocked off from traffic, TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen tried out three products that supposedly help you evade red-light cameras.

Jeff Rossen tries products designed to evade cameras at traffic lights.TODAY

The reflective spray did not work when Rossen ran the red light, triggering the camera; every character on his license plate was clearly readable in the photo. The reflective gel yielded similar results. However, the sensor that claims it will mask your plate from the camera with a burst of light did work.

"It's illegal in most states," O'Dell pointed out. "You cannot affix anything to a tag or put anything on a tag to obscure its legibility or to prevent recording.

"And this goes against every fiber of what we do," he added.

The Rossen Reports team reached out to the companies that make these products. They said they absolutely do not encourage using them to run red lights of condone using them in states where they are illegal. The laws do vary, so it's important to know what the law is where you live.

To see whether there are red-light cameras in your state, click here.

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