Remember that license plate cover you bought from Walmart for about $10? Or maybe you got it for free from your car dealership. Well, it could end up costing you a whole lot more money. Police could give Calgary drivers a license plate cover fine of $155 for using the covers, which they say are illegal in the province of Alberta. After an announcement by the Calgary Police Department, Calgarians are lashing out. 

The Calgary Police Service announced a crackdown on the covers on Facebook on Monday morning, March 2.

Police say there has been a recent rise in the number of vehicles with fake license plates on the city's roads. And apparently offenders frequently use covers to “obscure” their plates. 

They say the “extra glare and coverage” created by the covers “can often be enough to take a license plate of questionable authenticity for a passable one.” 

Calgarians are therefore being asked to remove their covers to help police fight crime.

“By doing so, you will be helping us to recognize and investigate the fraudulent ones,” said the statement. “Thanks for your help, Calgary!”

Police also pointed out that using license plate covers is actually illegal under Section 71 (1) of the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation.

“This section states that no person shall drive a vehicle if the license plate is not securely attached, legible and clearly visible at all times,” police said.

“This means that the license plate cannot be damaged, or covered (by tinted or clear covers, mud or snow).”

Calgary Police told Narcity that drivers who break the rules could face a fine of $155.

A spokesperson said: “Under the Traffic Safety Act, the fine for operating a motor vehicle without properly displaying the license plate is $155.”

It's fair to say the police statement, posted on Facebook and Twitter, has caused some concern among Calgarians.

More than one user suggested police actually want locals to remove their covers so they can more easily read plates to hand out fines.

Other social media users are worried that the law could punish drivers whose plates are obscured by snow or mud. There are laws in other provinces of Canada about having too much snow on your vehicle.

One said it is near impossible to keep my license plate free of mud this time of year!! It’s covered after 10 minutes of driving!

Others questioned why plate covers are sold in Alberta if they are outlawed.

One Twitter user asked the police to clarify whether fully transparent covers are legal. 

A patrol officer responded, “No. The plates have raised characters so that even with some dirt they’re readable. Also the license plate light typically makes a glare on the covers making them unreadable at night.”

Last week it emerged that RCMP is trying to locate a couple who drove and crashed a car in Port Coquitlam with a fake Albertan license plate printed on paper. 

Meanwhile in Ontario, the government has been criticized for issuing new license plates that many say are difficult to read. 

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