Of course, the hottest motoring topic now is the No Contact Apprehension Program. Because, you know, everyone is scared of being slapped with a violation and receiving a notice that costs a hefty P2,000. And that’s just for the first offense.
At the heart of the issue is our ever-precious license plate, not only because the Land Transportation Office can’t seem to solve the massive plate backlog, but also (and more so) because the plate is what the NCAP uses to identify the violators. In case you haven’t observed, a number of motorists have come up with creative ways to conceal their vehicle’s plate.
Here, we show you how to “fool” the NCAP camera—not because we want people to outsmart the system and hence break the law. On the contrary, we’re publishing these reader-contributed photos to alert the authorities to the tricks that traffic offenders blatantly pull off even in broad daylight.
Oh, we’re no longer including the hilarious vanity plates that are so commonplace these days that it makes you wonder if the cops are blind. These are too obvious; they’re not tricks anymore.
So, here we go.
1. The no-plate. No need to explain this. The tried-and-tested excuse when apprehended is that the plate has not been supplied by LTO. Even better in the time of the NCAP: No more human enforcers to hassle you. Even if those high-tech cameras catch you, so what? Without a plate ID, how can they penalize you?
2. The face mask. This trend initially became popular among motorcycles. Would you believe that even automobiles use this now? Let me guess what the violator would tell traffic enforcers: “I didn’t do that; maybe my officemates were playing a prank on me.” Sure.
3. The stickers. Have you seen plates with numbers and letters covered with stickers? Yep, they exist. We bet the cover-up (sorry for the pun) is the same: “Street kids vandalized it while I was having lunch.”
4. The dust. A grimy-looking vehicle that seems to have been neglected by the owner for months? Why not? A sooty exterior that is buried in clay and soil is the perfect alibi for having an impossible-to-see plate. And an extremely dirty car would likely be ignored by traffic marshals. It doesn’t scream “money,” after all.
5. The tint. As we’ve said in a previous article, plate covers are illegal. Give such a cover a really dark shade and no one will be able to recognize you. For maximum effect, use it with a “police” sticker.
6. The tilt. This seems to be harmless. Pampapogi lang po. In reality, tilted plate holders are designed to make the plate difficult to view—especially by electronic cameras. There’s a checkpoint up ahead? Simple: Just straighten the angle of the holder so that it looks like an ordinary plate case.
7. The politics. Filipinos are passionate about their political affiliation. Fresh from the presidential and national elections, many are still eager to show their loyalty to their favorite public officials. Especially those who won. Because maybe the mere initials of these politicians are enough to intimidate traffic enforcers or NCAP reviewers.
8. The spare tire. Now, we’re not judging the owner of this vehicle, but let’s admit it: This is wrong. Placing your license plate such that half of it is hidden behind your spare rubber prevents the public from identifying your car in case something happens. Plates are there for a reason, and that’s to establish the ownership of the vehicles that use our roads.
9. The bike rack. Finally, we have the sporty/adventurous car owner in this list. At first glance, this seems inoffensive. And maybe it is. But we repeat: Motor vehicles need to be identifiable at all times. No ifs, no buts. If you drive what is potentially a deadly weapon, you have to assure everyone that anyone can run after you if you figure in an accident. As straightforward as that.