• May 24, 2008

"Your mobile phone alerts you as you approach speed traps." That's the idea behind Trapster, an innovative service that uses technology, not the age-old flashing headlamps approach, to notify other drivers of a police speed trap. Motorists who come across an enforced speed zone are encouraged to report the location via an application running on their cell phone, PDA, and other types of devices. The notification is then broadcast to other Trapster members who receive audio or text message warnings as they approach the area.

There are four default alerts: police, speed camera, red light camera, and usual hiding place. Each is displayed in a color that alters from green to yellow to red, based on the "confidence" of the trap (more reports on a single trap increase the confidence). In a helpful move, known traps can be viewed on a Google-powered map on the Trapster web site before you leave the house or office and jump behind the wheel.

According to the inventors, Trapster works with any kind of phone. However, it is optimized with devices that support GPS or WiFi. While you'd think law enforcement would oppose the exposure of their speed traps, it hasn't been met with much resistance, as it actually encourages motorists to slow down. Unfortunately, as others point out, it also requires drivers to take their eyes off the road as they fumble to send alerts with their electronic devices.

[Source: AOL Autos]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Long before Trapster released its database of red-light camera locations PhantomAlert,
      Inc. the leading provider of passive, anti-radar and red-light camera products,
      offered its free distribution of a breakthrough GPS-based database that locates
      and warns drivers about stationary red-light and speed cameras as well as traditional speed trap locations. http://www.phantomalert.com/gpsapp/phantomplate/download.php

      The company’s new PhantomAlert red light, speed camera detector works by using GPS to map out the locations of all known traffic enforcement locations. The location database is then loaded on a GPS product similar to a radar detector. PhantomAlert can store 150,000 positions in its database. All cameras and speed traps in North America are covered. The proprietary database was developed with input from motorist themselves. It is a dynamic source of up-to-date information that is verified by thousand of drivers who have intimate knowledge of the enforcement locations.

      http://www.phantomalert.com/gpsapp/phantomplate/browse.php

      Speed camera locations are divided into different data sets, to distinguish between fixed
      speed cameras, mobile camera positions, red light cameras, schools, and high collision
      areas. The PhantomAlert GPS speed camera detector can also sub-divide some of these
      groups by speed limit, and allocate a voice alert. The tiny PhantomAlert unit has an LED display. When a warning is triggered, a chime is heard followed by an announcement. The speed limit at the camera site will flash before going back to displaying the vehicle’s speed. This will typically happen at 500 meters from the camera position. A second chime is heard at 200 yards from the camera site, and if the vehicle is still over the speed limit, a continuous warning is heard until the vehicle speed drops to the speed limit, or the camera site is passed at which time an “all clear” chime is heard.

      Features
      PhantomAlert detects Gatso, Truvelo, SPECS, Speedmaster, DS2, traffic light cameras,
      high traffic collision areas and all other permanent safety cameras. The detector will give an over-speed warning in close proximity to the camera if exceeding the speed limit, but will automatically mute when within the speed limit. The driver is advised of only cameras on their immediate route, thereby negating false alerts. The driver is advised as they approach high collision areas. The PhantomAlert announces close proximity to schools Monday - Friday 08:00 - 5:00, school zones can be switched off). The unit displays the current location as Latitude and Longitude, which can be relayed to emergency services or breakdown authorities.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Unfortunately, as others point out, it also requires drivers to take their eyes off the road as they fumble to send alerts with their electronic devices"

      They already are fumbling with their phones now, so big deal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wish this was a free service implemented by google instead. Also, maybe have it more based on GPS systems then cell phones. I like the idea of checking out potential speed traps on my home computer before my trip, not so much while driving unless it was integrated into a gps map or something.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great idea, except I'm going to go on there and submit a metric assload of false positives. Try not speeding, idiots.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Apparently you've never read any one of the plethora of studies which indicate that speed doesn't kill. Poor driving does. Speed traps are meant more to fill the coffers of the underfunded police department than to keep road-users safe.
        • 6 Years Ago
        7of7 and other- too bad the program developers have an algorithm smart enough to IGNORE what it determines to be a lot of false inputs from the same user. ;) Have fun driving while distracted, though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        In a 55 how does someone doing 65 whether they're passing or speeding endanger your life or cause more accidents?!? Speeding and reckless driving are two separate things, also two separate charges. Maybe if people took driving more seriously, and paid attention to what they're doing, there would be a lot less accidents. Don't blame someone doing no more than, on average, 10 miles over the speed limit for the majority of accidents.
        Idiots are those "civilian" traffic cops that feel they have an obligation to "control" the flow of traffic through their driving habits. Cutting people off, purposely blocking the passing lane, excessive short breaking....etc. Now that dangerous!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Speed by itself does not kill. That's why on roads that they RAISE the speed limit to 65 from 55, accidents go down. What's more likely to cause accidents are people driving below the speed limit. And raising the speed limit had the side effect of keeping the 'timid' people off the major roadways. Look it up as opposed to using your 'common' sense. Sometimes the things that 'everyone knows' are wrong.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree: don't speed and you won't need to buy a distracting gadget for your car.

        And, to LeRobert, speed does kill. If a car is moving at 160 km/h in a 100 zone (sorry, I'm Canadian), drivers around him (or her) get a false sense the time they have, say, if they want to change lanes. And the faster your vehicle is going, the greater the force of the impact. So, the faster your going when you get into an accident, the better your odds of killing yourself and the other people that may be involved in the accident. Not to mention the increase in braking distance, the reduction in the time you have to react to an obstacle.... I'm not an expert, but logic tells me that speed does kill.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great idea, bad implementation.

      Pretty dangerous for motorists to text message while driving. And what would be the incentive for doing so?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What text?

        You're at a location where there is a speed trap. You press the appropriate button, the software asks if you want to report a speed trap. You press yes. No text message involved. 2 button presses.

        Safer than i-Drive!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Richard--FTW
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dallas
      • 2 Years Ago
      First off I'm tired of the idiots that have no idea what a speed trap is. And with the public as dumb as they are speed traps aren't needed as people can't seem to drive at posted speed limits or better yet below the posted speed when driving in rain or snow. If I recall about the best story involving a speed trap was on an early Danny Thomas program that led to the Andy Griffith Mayberry classics. If I recall it was Barney that had a speed trap set up and caught Danny Thomas and tv family on vacation. Thomas refused to pay the ticket and Barney put him in jail. It was a good story and I believe Barny had hid the speed sign behind a fake bush or something like that. The so called Florida "speed traps" I've seen are not what people think. Signs are posted with plenty of time to slow down to reasonable speed limits and if you can't abide by the law you deserve what you get. All I know is it's a shame when these morons ride my bumper just because I drive the speed limits to avoid tickets and rising insurance rates. I don't have cash flowing out of my butt like you must have so I try to obey the law. It's the law stupid, take it up with the guys at the state capitol and leave me alone.
        4 millionmiler
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dallas
        Your idea is right to obey the law. I don't know what make car you drive, but my experience with some Ford vehicles (Crown Vic, Taurus) leads me to believe that some folks driving those brands may think they are doing the speed limit when they are actually 5 or 6 mph below the limit. Both of mine registered 66 when I was actually doing 60, a 10% variance. You could be running below the limit and not know it. If you have a measured mile some place where you drive, you can verify your speedo's accuracy with a stopwatch. For a mile, divide the elapsed time (in seconds and tenths) through the measured mile into 3600. Example: 3600 divided by 60 (seconds) = 60 mph. 3600 divided by 40 sec = 90 mph. For a quarter mile, use into 900; third of a mile, into 1080, etc. Ohio paints white lines on the berm at quarter mile intervals, so the trooper in the airplane can clock you through up to four individual "zones" in a mile. Don't rely on radar signs that display "your speed" because they too could be out of calibration. As for the guy on my back bumper, I stay try to out of the left lane unless I am passing (going faster than) someone...let the guy go on! If there is a cop ahead, he won't see the guy speeding if I have him held back. If he's tailgating me in the right lane, but could otherwise pass, I'm going to slow down some more to encourage him to get on down the road and away from me. Watching some bird blow by then seeing blue lights sure is fun.
      • 6 Years Ago
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