Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana State Police are cracking down on obscured license plates because they say the plates cause a public safety problem, and it's not only because red light cameras can't catch them.

Police say witnesses can't read obscured plates and neither can police when conducting a traffic stop.

Cities across the state are now using red light and speed cameras to catch drivers breaking the law, and they're one reason Louisiana State Police believe the use of license plate covers is on the rise.

'Over the last several months, we've received numerous complaints, not only from citizens and motorists, but from agencies across the state just complaining about obscured license plate,' said Trooper Nick Manale, the public information officer for Troop L.

The most common obstruction is the license plate cover. According to Manale, clear covers aren't illegal on their own, but they can get dirty or cracked, blocking the plate.

State police said the reflection on the tinted plate covers also pose a problem, because even though you can see through them, the reflection obscures the plate.

'Obscuring a license plate can really be anything. It can be everything from a nasty, muddied up plate that's not even visible anymore to covers that get dirty or are mirrored or blurred or tinted,' Manale said.

Drivers reacted strongly to news of the crackdown.

'You know if your plate is being blocked. You know if the cover that you put on the back of your car is obstructing the view. It's, you're asking for a ticket at that point. But I don't think that everybody should be punished because of it,' said DJ Dykes, a New Orleans resident.

'I don't have anything on my license plate and I've paid my share of tickets. So, I don't mind sharing with everyone else,' said Abita Springs resident Sam Mabry.

So, consider this your warning.

'It's a statewide campaign. It's not just troopers, it's law enforcement agencies all across the state. We're gonna be focusing on it and trying to get these license plate covers off the road,' Manale said.

And it's a primary offense, so police can pull you over just for having an obscured plate.

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