Trapster: A Cellphone Social Network To Fight Speed Traps

Each year, Americans spend billions (yes, we said billions) of dollars on traffic tickets. Launched in April, a new service called Trapster aims to help keep some of that money in your pocket by alerting you to nearby speed traps through your cell phone or PDA. According to CNN, Trapster incorporates a live database with your mobile device’s GPS or WiFi capability to alert you to nearby police speed traps as well as radar and red-light cameras. Details and demonstration video, inside…..

Trapster is basically live social network of mobile devices which is designed to give real-time alerts about the location of speed traps. Once you sign up for the free membership, you simply download the software to your cell phone or PDA. According to developer Pete Tenerillio, most current-generation phones, Blackberries and PDA’s can run the software. Once you are on the road, your device will emit audio alerts when in the vicinity of a reported speed trap. To report a speed trap, users can simply hit “pound 1″ or dial a toll-free number.

The article says,

“Pete needed to get Trapster into as many handsets as possible, as many different types of phones and PDAs as he could, in order to build a large interactive social network,” Ted Morgan, Skybook’s CEO, explained. “A big challenge for a service like Trapster is that it requires the phone to know its own location. So, by integrating our [WiFi positioning] technology, it enabled Trapster to expand the potential pool of phones they could get service onto.

“We take advantage of the fact that there are WiFi access points almost everywhere in populated areas — homes, offices, Starbucks stores, etc,” Morgan said. “We have crews that go out and survey every street, we’ve covered over a million miles of road, which covers 70 percent of the population. We’ve now mapped over 40 million access points.”

The debate as to whether this type of service encourages speeders or promotes safe driving is never-ending. Conversely, one could debate whether a speed trap’s primary function is to keep roads safe or to pad local revenues. Ultimately, it may be a combination of all these factors which plays a role in this high-tech version of cat and mouse. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any information regarding the size of Trapster’s user base so it’s effectiveness could be limited depending on your area.


Speed traps — new way to avoid them
[CNN]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Hedgy2136 says:

    Expect it to get much worse before it gets better. Local and State law enforcement in my state and the neighboring one are really hurting due to high gas prices. In order to raise the revenue to offset the unexpected budget hit, they are writing tickets in droves. This morning, on my 16 mile trek to work, I saw 4 folks getting tickets.

  2. If you go to the website, notice the “police often hide here” in the North Atlantic Ocean.

    Of course, there’s always the advice from Liar, Liar: [stopbreakingthelaw.ytmnd.com] (might want to turn speakers down if at work)

  3. Question: Why is this on the Consumerist?

  4. MountainCop says:

    Although I would not put it as eloquently as Jim Carrey, he’s got a point. If you are going to speed (or drive like an asshat), don’t be surprised when you get nailed with a ticket.

    The increased enforcement is due to a combination of factors – with the main one being that the people who live along the roads are getting damn tired of people whizzing by with no regard for the safety of anyone around them – and they are starting to get very vocal about it.

    It’s not all about revenue. I hear the revenue excuse all the time – from the people who are getting citations and can’t talk their way out of it. But I never hear it from my bosses. Hmmm…

  5. MrsLopsided says:

    It’s not very helpful. In 3 cities I’m familiar with it shows speed traps where I’ve never seen them in 20 years and misses the well known locations. It is useless in avoiding mobile speed traps but does accurately pinpoint many, but not all, red light cameras.

  6. OletheaEurystheus says:

    @LucasAnderson:
    Well if you think about how much money we drop on the government, in a
    way it very much IS a consumer issue. We pay good money to be treated
    fairly and its a well known fact that rarely does a police department
    set speed traps fairly…. or depending on which statistics you go by
    legally.

    The fact that by just asking for the last time the officer was properly
    trained on using the device he caught you “speeding” on inmost cases
    will get the case thrown out of court speaks volumes about how legal
    speed traps are.

  7. dragonvpm says:

    @MountainCop: It seems like, with Red Light Cameras, revenue is certainly an issue:

    Idling Red Light Cameras due to Revenue

    I’ve gotten very few tickets in my life, but I often see police officers (in patrol cars usually) driving as if they own the roads, completely disregarding safety and traffic laws and that always leaves a bad taste when the chief of police comes on TV to comment on how badly the rest of us drive and how hard they’re working to reduce traffic accidents etc…

    Judging by how most other people drive when there aren’t cops around, and how often I see morons driving like they’re in a demolition derby, I am inclined to think that the safety argument has very little merit (if people don’t see the cop they seem to drive however they darn well please) and that most of the traffic enforcement comes down to a question of revenue and making money for the departments (that also seems to be how they operate wrt drug offenses and how they use forfeiture laws etc…).

  8. sicknick says:

    On one hand, I slowed down three years ago and am about to buy my first insurance policy in YEARS that isn’t with a ‘high risk’ insurer. So, yeah, stop breaking the law, yadda yadda.

    That said, I love to drive fast. I pick my places and times around Detroit where I know I have a relatively low chance of being pinched, and keep those moments few and far between. I also cannot stand cops who are nothing more then deposit engineers for city coffers. Case in point, Lathrup Village (a suburb north of Detroit along 696) has a ridiculous rule where they can ticket street parked cars in neighborhoods between 1am and 6am that is only posted at the entrances to neighborhoods, not along the actual streets. I had to go and fight a ticket where I basically told the judge and the cop I had gone to my friend’s house, had a few too many drinks at the new tiki bar they had built, and passed out so I wasn’t driving home. The ticket was 120 dollars, too.

    Pointless laws made just to rape the money from visitors who may not know the local ordinances are bullshit and shouldn’t be allowed.

  9. theysaidwhat says:

    I wonder how frequently the locations of speedtraps are updated. We all know that there are some tried and true spots that cops will lurk. The rest are mobile. It seems to me that over time, you’d be getting an alert for every place someone has seen a cop. Wouldn’t you?

  10. I love the idea that speed traps can be set “unfairly”. You’re speeding – who cares if you’re coming around a blind corner when the cop nails you? You were speeding or driving recklessly and putting my life and property at risk.

    Pick your times to speed. If somebody’s not passing you every once and awhile, then you’re the fastest car on the road and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see red and blue flashers.

  11. sleze69 says:

    @MountainCop: The increased enforcement is due to a combination of factors – with the main one being that the people who live along the roads are getting damn tired of people whizzing by with no regard for the safety of anyone around them – and they are starting to get very vocal about it.

    The big increases isn’t really on the backroads. It is the state troopers patrolling the interstate highways. Not too many people live on the interstate.

    There is probably another contributing factor to the lower ticket revenue. People are driving slower to save gas. Because I average about 40 MPG when I stick to 60MPH, I rarely go over unless I am late for something. At $5/gallon of diesel, it is too costly to speed even without worrying about $200 tickets.

  12. rmz says:

    There’s an even better way to keep all of that speeding-ticket money in your pocket: don’t speed.

    Too obvious?

  13. theysaidwhat says:

    @rmz: Apparently it is to the folks who speed. ;)

  14. mac-phisto says:

    cool idea.

    @MountainCop: i think it depends on where you live. obviously, safety is a big part of enforcement, but in some areas, it is strictly revenue-based. i-84 near fishkill, ny is a perfect example. the “speed limit” is 55, but driving at that speed is clearly unsafe (heavy truck traffic travels in the 70-80mph range…esp. in the downhill sections). still, keeping with the flow nailed me a ticket for 72 (in the right lane between two trucks?!?!)

    a trip to the district courthouse in poughkeepsie reveals the real reason for enforcement. no matter what the speed is, everyone’s proffered the same deal – ticket is reduced to “failure to obey a traffic control device” (not a moving violation) & the fine is $150-200. the formalities resemble an auction block more than a courthouse – i reckon in my 2 hours there, they “processed” ~300 tickets (maybe more). i know that sounds like an exaggeration (it means <1 min. in front of the judge), but it’s true.

  15. @OletheaEurystheus: While some of your points are accurate, I still don’t think this is a consumer issue. We’re not talking about buying and selling, transactions, customer service or even corporations. No matter how much you can relate our government to a corporation, this story and the facts around it are all about legal issues and govern’mental’ policy.

    This story does not belong here.

  16. ajc308 says:

    Wow, did anyone else attempt to sign up for it and saw then when registering it just outright displays your password instead of using a password textbox? Not really a big fan of that.

    And BlackBerry’s on Verizon need a bluetooth GPS device to use Trapster…

  17. HOP says:

    this is just ,mostly, another source of revenue for the issuing agencies…..there’s a town in delaware called bridgeville that will ticket you for going 1 mile over the limit….which drops rapidly from 35 to 25 mph..(no, i was not ticketed there)…i guess they are only picking on their own people now, as there is a bypass around the place…

  18. HOP says:

    .

  19. Bladefist says:

    @rmz: You’re welcome to take the obvious option and not speed. The rest of us, think our speed limits are ridiculous and we do what we want, at the risk of a ticket. This site offers another way to evade the law. Some people don’t just lay down and accept our stupid laws.

    And I’m not saying all our speed limits are bad, but I know that when I am 100 miles from society, in either direction, on a 4-lane highway, limited at 65 miles an hour, then I pretty much think thats lame and I go 90.

  20. tinmanx says:

    @dragonvpm: Agreed about how some officers drive. I was once cut off on the right lane by a state trooper trying to make an exit at the last minute (he actually missed, went on the grass and drove back), I slammed on my breaks and just missed him. He did not have his lights on, so I don’t think he was on a call, just thinks that he owns the road.

  21. jeffjohnvol says:

    The last speeding ticket I got was in WV, and I didn’t have the petal to the metal. I was coasting to save gas going downhill and got nailed.

    Now due to gas prices I drive the limit. Now when I pass a trooper, it looks like he’s wearing a pink bunny outfit. “Hey there little fella!”

  22. jeffjohnvol says:

    Speaking of speeding/highway habits, I would love to see a poll of which state has the worst drivers. IMO, it would be Ohio hands down. Everytime some moron is sitting in my blind spot or doesn’t understand the concept of “left lane for passing only.” it is typically a car with an Ohio plate. Not saying all are bad, but most of the bad ones I see out seem to be from Ohio.

  23. Balisong says:

    @InfiniTrent: You basically say quit speeding and then say pick your times to speed? I’m all good with speeding but don’t be hypocritical about it.

    And many of these traps are unfair. I once got ticketed at the bottom of a steep hill coming home from work at midnight, on a street where there’s not even any pedestrians during the day. Boy, it’s a good thing those cops are looking out for our safety e_e

  24. tinmanx says:

    @InfiniTrent: I disagree, they can be set unfairly. I was once pulled over by an officer hiding right behind the sign that lowered the speed limit. It was a speed change from 55MPH to 30MPH. Ok, so I was going over 30MPH when I passed the sign, but without giving drivers time to slow down, how is that fair? There was no talking out of it, he was smiling when he saw that I wasn’t from the area. More money for the town that’s about 2 blocks long, because there was no way I’m going to drive 10 hours to fight it.

    The officer was a nice guy, nothing against him, but I do think he was being unfair hiding behind the sign that changes the speed limit.

  25. humphrmi says:

    @InfiniTrent: Actually if you understand what the word speed trap means, then it is unfair. But I don’t think the article here is even using it properly.

    A speed trap is an illegal procedure that municipalities use to unfairly increase ticket revenue. It usually involves substantially lowering the speed limit of a through road or highway (e.g. from 55 down to 30) in conjuction with an obscured speed limit sign or not giving drivers enough time to slow down.

    Example, you’re driving on a 55 MPH 2-lane highway in the middle of the countryside. You approach a town. Suddenly, there’s a sign that says “Speed Limit 30 MPH” and a cop sitting right behind the sign, giving tickets to everyone who can’t slow down from 55 to 30 fast enough. Speed trap.

    Another example: You’re cruising on a curvy highway at 45MPH, and unbeknownst to you, you’ve just passed a 25 MPH speed limit sign hidden behind a blind curve, followed immediately by a cop on the shoulder. Once again: speed trap.

    Speed traps are illegal. They are not about enforcement, they are about keeping law abiding drivers unaware of sudden changes in traffic laws in order to pinch their wallets. And any effort to thward real speed traps should be encouraged and supported by both law-abiding citizens and law enforecement agencies.

  26. dariasofi says:

    It would be nice if this site was actually accurate…

  27. @tinmanx:

    Agreed about how some officers drive. I was once cut off on the right lane by a state trooper trying to make an exit at the last minute (he actually missed, went on the grass and drove back), I slammed on my breaks and just missed him. He did not have his lights on, so I don’t think he was on a call, just thinks that he owns the road.

    I love when cops speed – I just get in the fast lane and follow them!

  28. GearheadGeek says:

    @MountainCop: Strictly enforced speed limits in residential areas, heavy-traffic commercial areas, around schools etc. all make sense. It is much less clear that speed limits arbitrarily set on limited-access, rural interstate highways below what the rules of sound traffic engineering recommend have a positive contribution to overall safety. Also, if you wonder about the motivations of some traffic enforcement, just look to the scam of red-light cameras, with many municipalities colluding with the companies that supply the cameras and services to shorten the yellow light on camera-controlled intersections, while longer yellows are the FIRST recommendation from traffic engineers to decrease red-light running at signal-controlled intersections.

  29. @Balisong:

    You basically say quit speeding and then say pick your times to speed? I’m all good with speeding but don’t be hypocritical about it.

    I’m saying that the only way to guarantee you won’t get a ticket is not to speed. People who speed, and then complain about getting a ticket are the hypocrites. Accept responsibility for the choices you make. I speed too, and accept responsibility.

    And many of these traps are unfair. I once got ticketed at the bottom of a steep hill coming home from work at midnight, on a street where there’s not even any pedestrians during the day. Boy, it’s a good thing those cops are looking out for our safety e_e

    So your car doesn’t have brakes? And there was zero possibility of anyone (car, pedestrian, otherwise) being on the street?

    Like I said, either don’t speed, or accept responsibility when you get busted.

  30. @humphrmi:

    Actually if you understand what the word speed trap means, then it is unfair. But I don’t think the article here is even using it properly.

    A speed trap is an illegal procedure that municipalities use to unfairly increase ticket revenue. It usually involves substantially lowering the speed limit of a through road or highway (e.g. from 55 down to 30) in conjuction with an obscured speed limit sign or not giving drivers enough time to slow down.

    Speed traps are illegal. They are not about enforcement, they are about keeping law abiding drivers unaware of sudden changes in traffic laws in order to pinch their wallets. And any effort to thward real speed traps should be encouraged and supported by both law-abiding citizens and law enforecement agencies.

    Agreed here – “Speed Trap” has been mangled by our society to mean “anyplace a cop sits and pulls me over”, and that’s how I was taking it for purposes of this discussion.

    True traps like you describe should be (and are in many places) illegal. I certainly don’t dispute that.

  31. @mac-phisto: A lot of it also has to do with road design. I take one of two main north-south roads to get out of the downtown and up to my house, and one of them is smaller, older, has sidewalks, houses, mature trees, etc., and people usually go about 35 (posted 30) and that FEELS about right. The other one, also posted 30, is new, wide, no sidewalks, few houses, and everyone drives 45 or 50, and that ALSO “feels” about the right speed to be driving.

    I know they’re doing a lot of research in Japan on how to cue people visually into driving the right speed; we all know places that are posted 55 and clearly designed to be drive 70, and you’re often surprised to see the 55 signpost because it just “looks” like a much faster road. We use so many, many cues from the road environment BEYOND speed limit signs to decide on what “feels” like a safe speed that it makes sense to manipulate those inputs if you can.

    A lot of places where there are speed traps it’s just clearly bad road design. I recall one speed trap where I grew up where it dropped from 50 on a main highway kind of road to 30 as it turned into an in-town road, and the road changed and the sign appeared just AFTER you crested a small hill at 50 miles an hour, and neither was visible until you were right on top of them. There was also a stoplight only a couple hundred feet down the hill that wasn’t visible until it was almost to late to stop. That was an ENORMOUS speed trap because people were always going 55 as they started down the downhill and couldn’t see the 30 sign until it was too late.

    What’s worse is that it was absurdly dangerous, between the invisible stoplight and the fact that all the LOCALS suddenly braked for no apparent reason at the crest of the hill and the out-of-towners using it as a through road would be plowing on at 50 mph. People got rear-ended ALL THE TIME.

    The solution there is clearly not enforcement; the road clearly needs to be redesigned.

  32. Nighthawke says:

    @tinmanx: The trooper was being reckless and speeding without his lights or due cause, which constitutes traffic violations. ANYONE and EVERYONE is not above the traffic laws. Even emergency personnel speeding without due cause.
    You can easily put a call in, not through 911, but their regular phone number at the station. Ask for the duty sergeant and file a complaint regarding the violator. Have the car’s tag # handy when you do to make it easier for the paperwork to go through. Some stations have two strikes policies on reckless driving before the officer winds up being a desk jockey for awhile.

  33. weakdome says:

    Here’s a great idea.
    You’re whizzing down the road at 25mph over the speed limit. You see a pig up ahead, so you SLAM on your brakes without checking behind you first (after all, tailgating is illegal). Then, once you’re past the po-po, you whip out your mobile-PDA-Smartphone and log the speed trap into Trapster, while driving of course.

    Safe driving, FTW.

  34. nrwfos says:
  35. @tinmanx: “Ok, so I was going over 30MPH when I passed the sign, but without giving drivers time to slow down, how is that fair?”

    Technically the new speed zone starts the instant you pass the sign … but speed limit signs are not so large that you can see them from a long way off (especially if there’s a hill or a curve of whatever), and I really, really hate big drops from 55 to 35 or whatever for exactly that reason.

    I drive out on some rural highways, where it’s typically 55 through the farmland and as low as 25 when you go through towns (as a real main street with sidewalks and on-street parking, so, yeah, 25 or 30 is appropriate and faster is dangerous especially if the school is on the main drag), and the towns where it signs you “55 – 45 – 35 – 25″ as you approach town are a HECKUVA LOT SAFER than the ones where they just went “55 – 30″ as you come into town. People are ALWAYS slamming on their brakes.

    I’m not exactly sure if the town or county or state decides on those signs, but the mutli-step signing is much, much safer.

  36. Carl3000 says:

    This is a great idea even though its going to create tons of annoying moral posturing (as evidenced by many of the existing comments)

  37. Jesse says:

    They also need to look at going after people for driving unreasonably slow. Driving slow and obstructing traffic in certain situations can be as dangerous as speeding.

  38. DH405 says:

    Every single time there’s an article on ticket avoidance here, at giz, or any other blog I read, there is a parade of asshats spouting the “DON’T SPEED, THEN!” line. Without fail.

    These people refuse to admit that there is such a thing as an unfair speed trap and they act like the police officers out there are only acting in our best interests. This is such garbage that it’s funny.

    I’ve seen the speed limit go straight from 55 to 35 with a cop that hides behind a big tree every evening, just in time to catch people getting off of work and coming home.

    I’ve seen speed limit signs installed BEHIND a tree branch to where it’s invisible. No efforts to clear the obstruction at all when they put the sign there.

    I’ve seen countless people get pulled over for driving with the speed of traffic. If you go the speed limit when everyone else is going +10, you will cause an accident.

    Also, one point that REALLY pisses me off is that I’ve been passed by WAY too many cops going 80-90mph on the highway with NO sirens or lights. Yeah. They’re trying to protect us.

  39. @Carl3000:

    annoying moral posturing

    Yes, those darn morals do tend to interfere, don’t they?

  40. @SMSDHubbard:

    I’ve seen the speed limit go straight from 55 to 35 with a cop that hides behind a big tree every evening, just in time to catch people getting off of work and coming home.

    I’ve seen speed limit signs installed BEHIND a tree branch to where it’s invisible. No efforts to clear the obstruction at all when they put the sign there.

    I’ve seen countless people get pulled over for driving with the speed of traffic. If you go the speed limit when everyone else is going +10, you will cause an accident.

    I don’t think anyone’s defending this type of real speed trap. I know any argument I’ve personally made along the lines of “JUST DON’T SPEED” applies just fine to most situations – people just like to bring up the one random speed trap in their town and claim that’s license to speed everywhere else.

    Real speed traps are a travesty, and you should work with your local government to get them fixed.

  41. ohiomensch says:

    I have been busted by speed traps a couple of times. Here in Ohio, there are communities that post signs at the city limit that say “speed limit 25 unless otherwise posted”.

    Last ticket I got, I was in a 35 zone, drove past a car dealership, strip plaza and gas station, then saw another sign for 35. Cop pulled me over in front of the sign, the 1/4 mile instance of businesses were a 25 zone and I was supposed to “know” that. Basically So you drive along, see a sign that says 35, last sign you are see and then you are supposed to know when you are in a non posted district where the speed limit drops. And of course, there are the police just waiting.

    Another area close to me, the road north bound is 45 mph, the southbound lane is 25 (the boundary between to towns is the middle of the street. Guess who is always waiting for the folks that exit the businesses located between the signs.

  42. GearheadGeek says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: It’s not so much that the road itself needs to be redesigned, but it sounds like the signage is WAY off. In Texas it’s now required that a warning sign be placed in advance of a decrease in speed from the rural-highway speed, so as you approach a town that reduces the speed limit there’ll be a sign saying “Reduced speed ahead” and often listing what that speed limit will be. I’m sure there are many small towns that HATE this regulation, since they have to pay for 1 more sign AND lose some ticket money. In the scenario you described, the “Reduced speed ahead” sign should be before the crest of the hill and there should be a sign warning drivers about the traffic signal as well, and if the traffic signal is blind, there should be flashing lights on the warning sign that operate when the traffic signal is red or about to turn red. THAT would be the way to design for safety, rather than revenue.

  43. Jesse says:

    Only problem I see with this site is that the old postings don’t drop off. There are still speed trap alerts from 2-3 months ago.

    Also gotta love the North Atlantic one. Must have INTERPOL running radar or something.

  44. DH405 says:

    @InfiniTrent: Work with my local government to get them fixed? Just who, exactly, do you think put them there? Where do you think the income flows to?

    Law enforcement attracts the corrupt, the power-hungry, the greedy.

    Some may say that there are good cops out there. I agree. It’s just a shame that the other 75% ruins their good name.

  45. Mike8813 says:

    I can’t think of how many times I’ve wished there was a cop around to nail some teenage idiot for weaving through traffic 20 MPH over. Programs like this just make it that much easier for these morons to skirt the law. Boo!

    I’ll go cry now.

  46. Jackasimov says:

    @jeffjohnvol: I don’t know about all of Illinois but someone definitely forgot to tell Chicago about not hogging the fast lanes when driving molasses-ass-slow. They sit there like it’s a constitutional right. It’s more dangerous to have to change lanes to avoid them while going a bit over the speed limit than it is to speed.

    And before anyone says: “if I’m going the speed limit I can be in the fast lane if I want to”…No. No you can’t. And I hate you.

  47. JollyJumjuck says:

    @MountainCop: I am so sick and tired of people who “live along the roads” and basically dictate selective enforcement.
    For example, one place I work is situated on a side street. On one end of the street is a very busy main street which leads downtown and has four large, prominently posted “no left turn” signs. On the other end of the side street (about 200 yards) is a residential area with one of those “traffic calming” concrete barriers to keep people from driving straight through the residential area. At various times during the day I see people ignoring the “no left turn” signs and holding up traffic on the busy street (sometimes even in a near accident) trying to make that illegal left turn. Other times I see people going around the concrete barrier to get from the side street to the residential area and beyond. If there is a police car parked nearby to ticket motorists, guess where they are ALWAYS situated: no, not the busy side street where an illegal turn might cause an accident or hold up traffic. No, they ticket people who drive around the barrier, so that the residents can have their nice quiet little street! Heaven forbid anyone who doesn’t live there or is visiting uses the PUBLIC road to drive through their elitist neighborhood.

    I pay my property taxes to the city like every homeowner, and yet a small group of influential homeowners can hijack police services. Makes me sick.

  48. Jackasimov says:

    I got a ticket in Florida at 2am on a major freeway. I was the only one on it for miles and I was going about 15-20 mph over.

    It’s almost impossible to drive 65 on a 8 lane highway; you’ll go insane.

  49. @GearheadGeek: In that case, the road was changed and updated piecemeal as some intersections further along were changed, so while I’m sure there’s at least SOME revenue motive, mostly it’s that they didn’t really think about how the roads were going to be joining up and nobody’s looked at that portion holistically.

    In Illinois, since different roads belong to state, county, or municipality for maintenance and repair, it’s not unusual to have an intersection totally redone and modernized and 100 feet down the cross street it’s pot-hole city and narrow and lanes disappear and the signage is incomplete or incorrect or just plain odd because of where the divide between state and county responsibility is. That’s more or less what happened at that intersection, but instead of solving the problem with fixing the signage and signals and redesigning the road, if possible, they’ve just posted cops at the bottom of the hill to ticket people so they don’t speed into town. And probably to help fill the coffers.

  50. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    @InfiniTrent:

    Moral posturing doesn’t necessarily mean morals, silly. It’s the ‘holier than thou’ attitude he was referring to, when we know damned well that those spouting this crap have been just as guilty of the same thing as those who point out that speed traps are crap.

    Me? I log 40-50k miles a year, and often am the one passing droves of people. I use all the tools available to me to to keep my pace on the highway, and when I get popped, I pay.

    The only time I have a problem is when Officer Revenue starts the supercop attitude right away or they’ve done something scummy to pull me over. In those instances, I’ve been known to make their jobs a little more difficult like demanding to see the speed gun, asking for their supervisor, fighting them in court, etc. I keep a digital camera in the car for situations like this, so I can photo the area and anything else that I think would build my case when in front of the judge. It sure makes a cop nervous when after receiving the citation, you immediately come out of the car and begin snapping photos.

    One instance where I got popped with laser, I had Officer Revenue walk up and start with me right away:

    Cop: “I see THAT didn’t help you out this time” (Pointing @ my V1)

    Me: “Sure it did!”

    Cop: “Well, you’re here with me, how do you figure it helped?”

    Me: “It kept you honest. See you in court!”

    I’ll take speed enforcement seriously when they begin enforcing proper lane usage and bad driving due to cell phones, etc. Until then, speed enforcement is all about easy revenue and that’s it.

  51. mac-phisto says:

    @ohiomensch: man, no wonder you guys don’t know how to drive. ;P

  52. uberbucket says:

    Don’t want a speeding ticket? Don’t break the law. Cruise control is your friend.

    I’ve had one speeding ticket in my 24+ years of driving. On long trips it’s hard not to speed as it seems like you are not getting anywhere unless you are passing people.

    As bad as gas prices are getting I’m surprised they haven’t proposed going back to the 55mph speed limit to conserve gas, or is that not the most fuel efficient speed anymore?

  53. snoop-blog says:

    I still say that it’s bull-shit how a person can ride a motorcycle down an interstate or highway, but yet me being in a damn car, I’m the one who has to wear a seatbelt. As if the motorcycle is somehow immune to accidents and that wearing a helmet on a motor cycle is somehow safer than me driving without a seatbelt.

    btw, I always drive 9 miles over the limit. I’m speeding, but it’s not enough of an offense to warrant a traffic ticket, (on the highway anyway). I don’t drive down residential areas in the same mannor.

    also- for every 10mph over 60 that you do, your gas mileage decreases significantly.

  54. Balisong says:

    @InfiniTrent: I’ve gotten tickets for flat-out speeding, and yes I agree I have no right to complain about those. But ticketing people who are coasting down a hill on an empty street is a waste of cop payroll. Why aren’t these cops out looking for real reckless driving? I haven’t seen anyone pulled over for that yet in my entire life, and I bet there’s tons of it going on at midnight.

  55. Balisong says:

    @snoop-blog: Huh? Are you saying motorcyles should have seatbelts? O_o

  56. Televiper says:

    This isn’t the solution for the real speed traps. The solution for the real speed traps is to go after the government about their rules for posting signs. Anything else is a non-starter.

  57. spinachdip says:

    @uberbucket: You do know what a speed trap is, right? The law is specifically designed to be broken (and cruise control would be your worst enemy). Any attempt to circumvent speed traps isn’t breaking the law, but for to avoid being, oh, trapped into breaking a law.

    As for the 55 mph speed limit, I don’t see it happening. The political shift of the past 30 years means any law that any law that comes at a small, short term cost for the greater, long-term good is anathema to free livin’ ‘Mer’cans.

  58. spinachdip says:

    @Balisong: Like this?

  59. Balisong says:

    @spinachdip: Is that thing technically a scooter or a motorcycle? Cause I wouldn’t drive that thing on a US highway if you paid me!

  60. uberbucket says:

    @snoop-blog: Seat belts on motorcycles…seriously? You have obviously never ridden a motorcycle. The though of being strapped to 600lbs of out-of-control motorcycle is frankly terrifying and very dangerous.

  61. mac-phisto says:

    @Balisong: i’ve seen it. once. ONCE. i was traveling rte 8 north (right around ansonia, ct) in bumper to bumper traffic when some idiot in the left lane jockeyed into the right lane (damn near clipped my front end). well, he just about ran a trooper off the road that was entering from an on-ramp in the process. heheh.

  62. spinachdip says:

    @Balisong: It’s basically a scooter, but I think it requires a full motorcycle license in Europe, but don’t quote me on that.

  63. Balisong says:

    @mac-phisto: Actually it just popped into my head that I’ve also seen it ONCE. In some crawling traffic on an interstate where half the lanes were blocked off for construction (though with no construction vehicles around in that particular spot), some guy missed his exit and to get back to it drove slooooowly backward in the construction lanes. I was trucking with my mom at the time, and from our vantage point we could see a cop at the exit just sitting and waiting for the guy to finally get to him. Oh sweet justice XD

    Though really, what cop wouldn’t ticket for that crap?

  64. whysteriastar says:

    I love this idea. My dad actually got pulled over in a speeding trap in the Anza Borrego Desert -FOR GOING TOO SLOW. These people will give you a ticket with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t mentality.

    I hope you don’t mind that I added a little link for it on my new blog, The Cheapskates Guide to Life at [cheapskatesguide.wordpress.com]

  65. snoop-blog says:

    Um are you guys serious? I know it wasn’t that hard to get the point I was making. That if it is illegal to drive a car without a seatbelt, than motorcycles should be illegal alltogether. Please tell me you guys aren’t that dense. Wow the Wonkette readers were right.

  66. snoop-blog says:

    @uberbucket: you worry me.

  67. Balisong says:

    @snoop-blog: That still makes no sense whatsoever. The reason motorcycles don’t have seatbelts is because you want to toss yourself away from your giant lump of metal that will crush you if you’re attached to it as it skids across the pavement. The reason cars have seatbelts is so you won’t be tossed through the windshield of your giant lump of metal and be splattered all over the pavement. Motorcycle with seatbelt will kill you. Car without seatbelt will kill you. Get it???

  68. verdegrrl says:

    The safest speed is the flow of traffic. Period.

    No traffic? Road conditions dictate what is safe, not an arbitrary limit.

    Common sense people.

    Those of you who preach about not exceeding speed limits, need to be followed to make sure you use your turn signals everywhere, including parking lots, and that you follow the rules at a 4 way stop, as well as avoid changing lanes while passing through an intersection, along with all the other safety rules of the road. Excessive speed for the conditions only accounts 3% of all accidents.

    “Failed to look properly: 32%
    Bad behaviour or inexperience: 25%
    Misjudged other drivers speed/path: 18%
    Poor turn/manoeuvre: 15%
    Going too fast for conditions: 12%
    Loss of control: 14%
    Vision affected: 10%
    Slippery road: 10%
    Following too close: 7%
    Sudden braking: 7%
    Disobeyed traffic signal or stop sign: 6%
    Impaired by alcohol: 5%
    Exceeding speed limit: 5%
    Road layout: 3%
    Vehicle defects: 2% “

    [www.speedcameras.org]

  69. snoop-blog says:

    so what you are saying is that no one has ever died wearing a seat belt, hmm interesting. Because my point was that a car without a seatbelt is safer than riding with a helmet. No where did I anything about a motorcycle having a seat belt, only a fuktard would suggest that. Qoute me saying that motorcycles have seat belts please. I know it read confusing when I said that “and I’m the one who has to wear a seatbelt, but was I meant (and I was really hoping that not all consumerist readers are 9th grade english teachers that haven’t cracked smile or farted in 10 years) and that just maybe you would not take everything so literal, as I’m sure other commenters are wondering why you didn’t get my point.

  70. snoop-blog says:

    @Balisong: read my last comment.

  71. snoop-blog says:

    fuck it. nevermind. I don’t know why I even bother to argue with you blog-lo-dytes. Just read my damn comments. Or not, but don’t even bother to post a response if it is just an attempt to show the world how bad my grammer is.

  72. Balisong says:

    @snoop-blog: so what you are saying is that no one has ever died wearing a seat belt, hmm interesting.

    I didn’t say that : I said “Car without seatbelt will kill you.”

    Because my point was that a car without a seatbelt is safer than riding with a helmet.

    Not that I have statistics to back myself up, but off the top of my head I don’t agree. But then I’m taking into consideration that a motorcycle driver that isn’t an idiot would be wearing more protection than merely a helmet (i.e. not just shorts and a t-shirt, which should be as illegal as not wearing a seatbelt in a car).

    But yes, your posts were confusing.

  73. bobfromboston says:

    @snoop-blog: Grammar, not grammer.

    (Sorry, just trying to push you over the edge…)

  74. Daniels says:

    There’s an even better way to keep all of that speeding-ticket money in your pocket: don’t speed.

    There’s a distinct and obvious difference between speeding tickets and speed traps.

    Speeding tickets: Going 50 through a community where the speed limit is 30. 102 in a 65 on the highway.

    Speed traps: An officer sitting, under cover, where the speed limit changes from 45 to 30 and hitting you just as you go by the sign.

    If you don’t understand that then I don’t know what to tell you.

    And if speed legislation was meant to save lives, it wouldn’t be horrifically easy to circumvent. With enough money, you can have any speeding ticket reduced.

  75. akede2001 says:

    I think traps cause more safety issues.

    People tend to break unexpectedly when they see a cop. People also tend to slow down drastically when driving by an officer who has pulled someone over. Both of these create unsafe events on the road. I’ve been behind idiots who even slow down for flashing lights and sirens– on the opposite side of the concrete barricaded interstate. Are they just stupid, or are they slowing down to look? OMG FLASHING LITEZ!

  76. pantsonfire says:

    The selfless public servants who tell you what to do have only your best interest in mind. Now pay your fines and move along citizen.

    [www.thenewspaper.com]

  77. Jabberkaty says:

    Municipal cops in my state (Maine) don’t see the cash from the tickets. It all goes to the state, which ironically pass the laws that the cops enforce. So the cops aren’t propping their gas funds with the speeding tickets… here, anyway.

    Besides, it would make me relax, ever so slightly, if people could just drive the speed limit… But I hate driving and am hopelessly biased.

  78. linbey says:

    Ya know you could also DO THE SPEED LIMIT, and you wouldnt have to worry about speed traps. But I guess people think its OK to break the law.

  79. How about 10 strikes and you are out of a drivers license for ,say, 10 years? If you want to get it back you have to pay 10 thousand dollars and serve 500 hours of community service? That would make people slow down.

  80. HOP says:

    back in the dark ages when i was with the police force,the
    issuing agency would get 10% of the proceeds from the summons, and the state would get the rest..i’ve been retired for 20 some years, so i don’t know if it’s like that now….
    e

  81. @Daniels: Word. And when does the “speed limit” begin… as you pass the sign or when the sign is in view? Because even the LAPD can’t decide.

    I once got a ticket for suddenly braking when the speed changed from 50 to 35 going downhill. The signs were only 20 feet away from each other. You can’t slow down 15 mph within 20 feet without slamming on the brakes HARD, yet the cop gave me a ticket because he “almost hit me”. I argued, well, if you were tailgating, you wouldn’t have been in danger. I fought the ticket and the signs got moved, but a year later they put them back up and posted 6 motorcycle cops there to hand out tickets all day. When the speed signs dictate a driver must do the impossible to obey, that is a speed trap.

  82. Comms says:

    I love the obedience-drones on this site. Remember folks, obey the rules, and wall will be well.

    On the topic, Trapster is excellent and remarkably accurate. It won’t save you from a random hiding spot but it’ll definitely ruin the usual hiding places if more and more people use it.

  83. were=weren’t

  84. drjayphd says:

    @mac-phisto: Well, that guy’s doubly idiotic for doing it THERE, of all places. Route 8 makes me nervous around the whole Ansonia/Shelton/Derby area.

    Although to be fair, it’s not as bad as getting on 84 east in Waterbury from 8 north, where you practically have to check oncoming traffic into the boards just so you don’t get railroaded into the exit that’s a foot and a half in front of the on-ramp. -_-

  85. @akede2001: I can’t tell you how much road rage I get when I’m cruising along at about 5 over and the people in front of me who are going BELOW the limit hit their brakes because there’s a cop in the median causing me to run up on them and looking like I’m tailgating. By the time you’re passing the cop, it’s too late and slamming on your brakes creates dangerous conditions.

    Never have I been pulled over going ~7 over, or even had lights flashed at me to slow down. That being said, I’m in Cincy for the summer and the cops here sit in the emergency lanes standing behind their open passenger doors with their hand-held radar guns. It’s quite intimidating, and when you’re going 55+ it looks like they’re pointing a pistol at you and even I will hit my brakes a little because of this.

    There’s a QotD over at TTAC about mandatory seatbelt regulation, and there was a comment that fits here too about how we owe each other common courtesy on the road. Speeding’s fine in my book, as long as it’s coupled with proper behavior for that speed.

    I will confess that I do drive like a jackass occasionally and that probably makes me a huge hypocrite. However, having people do to me what I’ve done in the past has made me realize how reckless I have been.

  86. cobaltthorium says:

    wow – in New Brunswick, there are always “Approaching slower limit”-style signs up. Dropping from 80 to 50? That’s a sign, about 100m metres (300 feet, I think?) before the 50 sign. Extortionist police policies ftw!

  87. ppiddyp says:

    @Balisong: Estimates for seat belt effectiveness vary wildly depending on the study, but I’ve never seen one that suggested that they reduced fatalities buy more than half or so. So, an unbelted driver is facing ~4 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

    Compare that to a motorcycle rider, who must contend with over 40 fatalities per 100M VMT. It’s still 10x more dangerous than being in a car.

    Motorcycles are vastly more dangerous than cars. Period. Nothing against them. They’re awesome. But riders should be aware of the risks, try to mitigate them as much as possible, and understand that they may get to die doing something they love.

    As far as this technology goes, I fail to see how this doesn’t constitute a company conspiring to break the law. Or enable people to break the law or something.