Amazon has stopped selling devices that obstruct license plates from toll readers and speed cameras to New York state addresses after an MTA announcement late last month.
“Together with the mayor, we’ve actually convinced Amazon to stop selling some of those technologies that allow people to disguise and hide their license plates,” MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said Thursday. “We’re not going to let that become an issue when congestion pricing starts.”
The world’s largest online retailer stopped shipping devices like “camera blocker” or “license plate cover” to any New York state address after Mayor Eric Adams announced last month that his office collaborated with Amazon to clamp down on “ghost vehicles,” or vehicles with illegal and counterfeit license plates. Before such an item can be added to a customer’s online shopping cart, there is an automatic notice alerting buyers that it cannot be shipped to New York locations.
In January, the city passed a law that banned the sale of license plate covers to all New York City residents, but companies have continued to sell products. Those purposely covering license plates can face a fine of up to $300.
It was the latest chapter in the city’s efforts to crack down on fake or obscured license plates, which the MTA claims costs $50 million a year in lost toll revenue. The MTA and Port Authority teamed up with regional law enforcement officials in May to slow the flow of toll evasion.
The issue of drivers covering their plates prompted former MTA chief Richard Ravitch to predict that the city’s pending congestion pricing plan, which would toll drivers who enter Manhattan south of 60th Street up to $23, could ultimately be “eviscerated” due to drivers evading toll fees, according to amNY.