Avoiding Tolls with Fake License Plates: New York Police Crack Down on "Ghost Cars"

In a bid to tackle toll evasion and ensure road safety, New York authorities have intensified efforts to curb the use of altered or forged license plates on vehicles, also known as "ghost cars." This recent crackdown targeted offenders at the Battery Tunnel on the Brooklyn side, a crucial entrance and exit point between Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

The operation aimed to apprehend motorists engaging in various forms of license plate fraud and related violations. Those found with fake plates, no plates, outstanding summonses exceeding $500, illegal window tint, damaged plates, or lacking proper registration and insurance faced swift repercussions. Offenders had their vehicles towed, were arrested, or received summonses requiring a court appearance.

The recent crackdown by New York authorities on vehicles using fake or altered license plates to evade tolls and fines underscores the seriousness with which authorities are addressing this issue. This operation, centered around the Battery Tunnel on the Brooklyn side, aimed to catch motorists engaging in various forms of license plate fraud and related offenses.

The term "ghost cars" aptly describes these vehicles, which attempt to operate under the radar by using counterfeit or modified license plates. Such deceptive practices not only allow drivers to dodge tolls and traffic fines but also pose safety risks by evading vehicle registration and insurance requirements.

During the crackdown at the Battery Tunnel, motorists found in violation of traffic laws—whether due to fake plates, outstanding summonses, illegal modifications, or lack of proper registration and insurance—faced immediate consequences. These consequences ranged from having their vehicles towed to being arrested or issued summonses requiring them to appear in court.

The decision to escalate enforcement efforts and conduct regular crackdowns at all bridges and tunnels in New York City sends a clear message: fraudulent tactics to avoid tolls and legal obligations will not be tolerated. By targeting this behavior systematically, authorities are taking proactive steps to ensure compliance with traffic laws and maintain public safety.

It's important for all motorists to adhere to licensing and registration requirements, as well as to fulfill any outstanding fines or summonses promptly. Engaging in deceptive practices not only risks legal repercussions but also undermines the integrity of traffic enforcement systems designed to promote fairness and safety on New York City's roadways.

As the crackdown on "ghost cars" continues, motorists are urged to prioritize compliance with all traffic laws and regulations, thereby contributing to a safer and more accountable transportation environment for all.

Why Crack Down on Ghost Cars?

The use of fake or altered license plates undermines toll collection systems, depriving public infrastructure of essential funding for maintenance and improvements. Additionally, vehicles operating without legitimate plates can pose safety risks by evading important registration and insurance requirements.

By cracking down on ghost cars, New York authorities aim to:

  • Ensure Fairness: Uphold the principle that all motorists must contribute fairly to the upkeep of public roads and bridges through toll payments.

  • Enhance Safety: Discourage unsafe practices such as driving without proper registration or insurance, which jeopardizes public safety.

  • Enforce Compliance: Send a strong message that license plate fraud and related offenses will not go unpunished, fostering greater accountability among drivers.

Continued Crackdown Across NYC

The recent operation at the Battery Tunnel is part of an ongoing initiative. New York City plans to conduct weekly crackdowns at all bridges and tunnels to deter toll evasion and enforce traffic regulations effectively.

Impact on Offenders

Motorists caught in these crackdowns face serious consequences, including:

  • Vehicle Towing: Vehicles found in violation of licensing or toll regulations are subject to immediate towing.

  • Legal Action: Offenders may be arrested or issued summonses requiring them to appear in court to address their violations.


As New York authorities intensify efforts against toll evasion and license plate fraud, motorists are reminded of the importance of complying with traffic laws. By cracking down on "ghost cars," law enforcement aims to foster a fair and safe transportation environment for all residents and visitors of New York City.

Stay informed about these developments and the latest updates on traffic enforcement by following official announcements from New York authorities. Let's work together to ensure responsible and law-abiding use of our roadways.


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