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Cellphones Transportation

New Service Maps Speed Traps By Cell Phone 404

Posted by kdawson
from the i-didn't-do-it-nobody-saw-me-you-can't-prove-anything dept.
esocid writes "In a modern equivalent of flashing your headlights to warn other motorists of police speed traps, you can now warn fellow drivers with a cell phone or personal digital assistant about speed traps, red-light cameras, and other threats to ticket-free driving. And as you approach a known threat, you'll get an audio alert on your mobile device. The developer of Trapster, Pete Tenereillo, said the system, which requires punching in a few keys such as '#1' to submit information to Trapster's database, should comply with laws banning talking on cell phones. The free service can automatically detect location using mobile devices' GPS capabilities or tap their Wi-Fi and get location from a database run by Skyhook Wireless. Police officials that Tenereillo has talked to haven't complained about the service because it inevitably encourages drivers to slow down."
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New Service Maps Speed Traps By Cell Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:33PM (#22953552)
    of the privacy of police officers!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:23PM (#22954350)
      Actually, a lot of people probably won't realize that by allowing "Trapster" to track their movements and feed data back to them based on location, they will be giving up a big part of their own privacy and helping to create a database that will no doubt be subpoenaed from time to time -- if not outright plundered through misuse of the so-called Patriot Act.

      In addition, with speeders allowing their locations to be tracked, that database also documents their speeding. A juicy target if the speeder is involved in a collision and the victim(s) want another way to establish reckless driving.

      Or, it's just a useful target anyway to document and prosecute speeders. Most subscribers will no doubt be speeders, so as the police state becomes stronger, look for your now well-documented past to come back to haunt you.

      And what happens to all of that data if there is a security breach at the company and someone exfiltrates all of the records. Most probably wouldn't care, but the higher your profile, the more you could expect to see your actions published in the open for all to see.

      No thanks. I'll just keep my radar detector.
      • Or if a victim wants to establish a pattern of reckless driving thereby increasing the payout and punitive damages.

        I can easily imagine a courtroom scene where highway speed tests, speeding in residential areas, speeding in school zones, and pretty much anything of value would be paraded in front of a jury.

        It might also persuade a judge to lock some people up for quite a long time, or impose much harsher punishments on people when they get busted.

        This database will work both ways. I guarantee it.
  • Why complain? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:34PM (#22953556)
    I would think a police official would find it easier to just have police drive past points hitting #1, saving money on police traps and increasing coverage?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Xtravar (725372)
      But then the police would... have to find something useful to do.
      • Unanticipated Use (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Stanistani (808333)
        >Information about active speed traps is kept for an hour, with the idea that officers may move on.

        Indeed. This could become the system of choice for the subset of people who need to know exactly where the police are running 'john' stings, drug sweeps, or just parked in a neighborhood.

        I wonder what effect that could have?
        • Re:Unanticipated Use (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mcpkaaos (449561) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:39PM (#22954522)

          I wonder what effect that could have?
          People should monitor law enforcement, imo. If someone sees and identifies a police officer, clearly that officer is making no attempt to conceal him/herself, so what's the harm? Their presence alone can be a deterrent, so broadcasting knowledge of said presence might actually prevent a crime from taking place.

          The purpose of a police force isn't to bust people, it's to prevent crime. We keep forgetting this. If that goal can be achieved without someone going to jail and getting sucked into a system designed to keep them in it, I'm all for it (especially given the non-violent crimes you cite for example).
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Stanistani (808333)
            I do believe that governments should be afraid of the people, instead of the converse. I just wonder about the potential for misuse.
    • Speed traps generate revenue. While most police officers are happy with anything that gets the public to slow down, those in power will want to keep the collections up.
    • Re:Why complain? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dfghjk (711126) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:03PM (#22954844)
      That assumes the goal of police traps is slowing traffic down. It is not.
      • Re:Why complain? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday April 03, 2008 @04:28PM (#22955996) Journal

        That assumes the goal of police traps is slowing traffic down. It is not.

        Uhh, it is sometimes. I do my fair share of speeding, but I'm open minded enough to assume that the police officer sitting outside the school zone at 7:30AM isn't primarily interested in revenue collection.....

  • So (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:36PM (#22953596)
    You're rocketing down the freeway exceeding the speed limit checking your phone for text messages warning you to slow down. I hope you die in car fire.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spun (1352)
      No shit. What we really need is a site to report speeders, red light runners, drunk drivers, people putting on makeup or reading while driving, people going 25 in the fast lane of the freeway with their left blinker on, tail-gaters, and people who swerve in and out of lanes trying to get ahead of anyone else. Cops aren't a problem if you aren't driving wrong, it's the thoughtless, selfish drivers on the road.

      I want a site that lets me coordinate with others to piss these types off, say, by getting together
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by PhreakOfTime (588141)
        I want a site that lets me coordinate with others to piss these types off, say, by getting together and driving in formation at exactly the speed limit, blocking the bastards.

        Why dont you just focus on your own driving for a change and worry about driving to your destination? That would be a pretty shallow way to live, thinking that somehow YOU have the say in how other people can drive just because you want to. In the state I live in, doing what you just suggested has a name. Its called BREAKING THE LAW.

        • by spun (1352)
          Hey, it's a joke, okay? A way of blowing off steam, not a serious suggestion. I do exactly what you say, and just suck it up when someone cuts me off or acts like an ass on the road. Life is too short to waste worrying about the behavior of assholes. But it's still fun to speculate about ways of making those who think the rules don't apply to them pay.
    • You're rocketing down the freeway exceeding the speed limit...
      And suddenly for no reason apparent to you the guy just in front of you hits his brakes, hard. Even if you have the wherewithal to follow at a safe distance, most drivers actually overbrake when they see police cars, and now this will happen even when the cops have long gone. If they were ever there in the first place.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:36PM (#22953602) Journal
    The police wouldn't be setting up speed traps.
    A patrol car in the median is more than enough to slow down all but the stupid or inattentive.
    • by catbutt (469582)
      Don't they want to slow people down in general, not just when they are there with a patrol car or radar gun? At least I thought that was the theory.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Maybe it's just where I live, but police do that too. I think it depends on the city/town.

      For example, anytime I drive to Tampa, FL there is a crazy stretch of road where the speed limits go from 55->25->45->25 etc... where the police really do make money from the speed trap revenues. It's pretty amusing since people have put billboards up complaining about the ticketing on this stretch of road.
    • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:52PM (#22953874)
      I think catching the stupid and inattentive is kind of the point.
      • I agree. Every time I got a speeding ticket, I deserved it. Not because I was speeding, but because I got caught: I was daydreaming or whatever, and didn't see the cop in time. If I didn't see the cop in time, who knows what else I wasn't paying attention to?

        When I'm properly alert (i.e. a safe driver, someone who isn't much of a danger to other peoples' safety), I don't get tickets. Yeah, under those circumstances, they could probably nail me for speeding anyway, by being stealthier or lasing me at a

    • A patrol car in the median is more than enough to slow down all but the stupid or inattentive.
      I've seen this on I-294 in Illinois. Most people just seem to ignore it.
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:17PM (#22954276)
      Speed is not the problem most of the time. America has notoriously low speed limits designed to make you the criminal when you drive normally (my state routinely has 55mph on highways where everybody goes about 72. Those who actually go 55 are in great danger from traffic). Last time I looked, it was safer to go 10mph above the limit than 10mph below.

      It's just the easiest way to collect tickets. Point a radar gun, boom, and write ticket.

      I see all kinds of more dangerous traffic infractions that almost no cop gives a damn about. Failure to use turn signals. Or this situation: you are on a normal two-lane two-way road at an intersection with a green light. You are at the forefront and want to make a left turn and the car opposite from you is in the same situation. There is a line of cars behind both of you. Most state laws would give the left-turners the right of way and both of you should be able to turn left simultaneously. What instead usually happens is that the cars behind you take to the shoulder (illegally in this case - going onto the shoulder is to avoid an obstacle, not traffic) and go around you, cutting the two turning left off from their right-of-way. This is where the law and (now) common practice collide.

      Someone else mention the left lane as passing. It also recently became State law here that left was only to be used for passing and faster traffic. Not in practice. Most times I see some cas right next to each other neck and neck (and not even going fast) which leaves me wondering why the guy in the left lane even bothered going in the left lane... other than to block everyone else.

      But cops sure do love keeping on writing the speeding tickets. I guess going slow negates the danger of not following any other rules:/
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nasor (690345)

        I see all kinds of more dangerous traffic infractions that almost no cop gives a damn about.

        YES

        In my city people commonly drive very dangerously - not signaling when they turn, aggressively weaving around in lanes so they can get to the red light 3 seconds before everyone else, running red light/stop signs, pulling out in front of traffic so that everyone else has to stop briefly to avoid hitting you - but the cops never seem to give a damn. Go more than 6 mph over the speed limit, though, and they pounce on you. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that people should speed - but the amount of e

    • by _|()|\| (159991) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:31PM (#22954418)
      Bruce Schneier posted on this topic last week [schneier.com]:

      Cities that have installed speed cameras are discovering motorists are driving slower, which is decreasing revenues from fines. So they're turning the cameras off.
    • by barzok (26681)
      The really dangerous people are the ones doing 5 MPH under the limit while everyone else is doing 5 over.

      Or the idiots who are doing 5 over and slam on the brakes when they see that patrol car in the median. THAT will cause an accident real quick.

      News flash: On 90% of interstates, the police won't bat an eye at you doing 70 in a 65. On I-90 in NY, it's been pretty well established that as long as you're under 80 (limit is 65), you're in the clear as long as it's not the end of the month and the troopers are
  • False Positives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HighWizard (91134) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:37PM (#22953616)
    I'm guessing this would allow me to make people slow down on my street by simply making them "think" there is a speed trap there. Not a terrible idea, if enough people use it. Though how many false positives will it take before confidence in the system is shot?
    • by transporter_ii (986545) * on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:46PM (#22953784) Homepage
      Just set up a limit to how many times someone can report something in a given amount of time. That way it would limit false positives. Also, if multiple people give a report, mod that alert up, as it is more likely to be a true report.
      • All the parents in a given neighborhood could report the speed trap, causing people to slow down. The police could also have multiple officers coordinate, thus poisoning the system.

        Here in northern Virginia, the police set up small billboards that show your speed as you are passing. Since the signs use police radar, they also set off radar detectors, slowing people down. I'd like to get a permanent one installed in our neighborhood. These don't have speed cameras, but they could.
    • Re:False Positives? (Score:4, Informative)

      by esocid (946821) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:19PM (#22954308) Journal

      To discourage pranksters and law-enforcement officials from flooding the system with bogus locations, users can rate others on the accuracy of their contributions, and those getting better ratings will carry more weight.
      TFA mentioned this method of weeding out the fake ones, plus I think it said speed traps are unlisted after 1 hour so they don't alert you if the cop has picked up and moved someplace else.
      As an aside, when I submitted this the trapster website was pretty slow, and I'm pretty surprised it's holding up so far. Way to go.
    • Cell phone messages are "old tech." Think of this as a demonstration of an idea, a prototype.

      In the future, threat advisories would be signed, and client software would look up the keyid in a reputation database. People who cry wolf would be weighed appropriately (i.e. not shown at all, or the "cop here" consensual imagery that you see overlayed with the road, would be extremely faint/transparent to reflect its low probability).

  • by Nos. (179609) <andrew@nOspAM.thekerrs.ca> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:38PM (#22953636) Homepage
    Or you know, you could obey the speed limit, stop at red lights, etc. Seems to keep quite a few of us from getting tickets.
    • by techpawn (969834) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:42PM (#22953696) Journal
      Speeding tickets are like the lottery:
      They're just a tax on the stupid who are inattentive and don't understand how numbers work.
      • by EMeta (860558) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:56PM (#22953942)
        Or, at least in America, a tax on the poor. If you make $400k a year, you don't really care if you get 2 $75 tickets a year. There are some more enlightened countries that make the penalty proportional to income, which is both safer and fairer.
        • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:00PM (#22954002) Homepage

          A tax is something you have to pay. It is entirely possible to drive, for years, without getting a single ticket. I've done it.

          It's only a tax on the poor of those particular people can't drive. If that's the case, then I don't mind. The system should discourage those who can't drive from driving.

          Should it be based on your income? That's fine with me. But don't call it a tax.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by b96miata (620163)
          Then why not just make it a damn tax and end the scapegoating? If every speed limit were set based on the natural speed of traffic, it might be reasonable to single people out for speeding, but I think everyone here can probably name at least one road near their house where the average speed is at least 10-15 mph over the limit and there's not a rash of fatal accidents. It's a back-door tax, without the negative political consequences of calling it one. I wish they'd just admit it and make it apply to
        • by techpawn (969834)
          Oh, I don't disagree with you. I've seen BMW whipping at 90+ MPH in a 50MPH zone thinking "if he gets ticketed, he won't care he can soak the cost" then again if he slams someone his insurance will go up and all the financial things that go along to penalize that.
        • by magicchex (898936)
          The worst example of this is the law enacted in Michigan a couple years ago. Called the Driver Responsibility Fee [michigan.gov], if you get any ticket that adds points to your license, on top of paying the fines, you also have to pay the State an additional fine, ranging from $125 to $1000 a year over two years. If you miss your payment, they suspend your license. Once your license is suspended, if you get a suspended license ticket, you have to pay $500 a year for two years plus $125 to get your license back. If you are
        • by xaxa (988988)
          Some places have 'points' on the driving license. If you collect too many points, by speeding or being drunk or whatever, then you lose the license.

          (I think in the UK you could speed a maximum of three times before your next driving offence lost you your license.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Amouth (879122)
      i obey the speed limit and stop ar red lights.. but i don't feel it is fair for them to change things on people just to extort money out of them.. and example is where i live.. in down town.. on the main road there is 8 lghts i have to go through each day. only 2 of them have red light cameras one near the middle and one at the end of the road. the lights are in sequence so that if you get stopped by one light and wait it out then the rest will be green for you if you are doing the speed limit. BUT the ye
      • by techpawn (969834) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:00PM (#22953994) Journal

        i know people are going to say "well when it turns yellow you stop - no problem" but the yellow is so short that it is an issue..
        Maybe it was the way I was taught to drive... but...

        If it's green when you see it, assume it will turn yellow at any time: prepare to stop.
        If it's yellow when you see it, assume it will turn red: you should be stopping
        If it is red when you see it, assume the idiots coming the other way will run the yellow or red. Wait a second after it turns green then Go.
        Stopping is not a problem if you assume everyone else is going to be more stupid than you are. It's driving again...
        • by Ioldanach (88584) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:44PM (#22954586)

          If it's green when you see it, assume it will turn yellow at any time: prepare to stop.

          That's good advice, but if you're watching the light and traffic, it can still take anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 seconds to observe that the light has changed and depress the brake pedal. At 35mph, you're traveling at 51 feet per second and will need 101 feet to safely stop [jmu.edu], or 130 feet if you're a truck. That means that if the yellow light is less than two seconds and you're 100 feet away, you can't safely stop without entering the intersection, and you can't enter the intersection before the light is red. Hopefully, the cameras will at least let you go if you enter the intersection on the yellow and leave on the red, otherwise you need to add the full length of the intersection to the calculation, and that can easily be 50 feet, or another full second.

          Therefore, if you come back and record the light's transitions and discover that the light provides less than two seconds of stopping time you have an affirmative defense in that it is physically impossible with standard automotive equipment for a vehicle to stop in the time allotted. You might reasonably argue for 3 seconds, since stopping distance is increased in foul weather to about 150 feet and setting the time less than that is unsafe (though if weather is that foul, the driver should be reducing their speed so that they can stop in 100 feet anyways). Also, a setting of 2 seconds requires that the driver be able to identify their range to the intersection as greater or less than 101-102 feet, which is an unreasonably small target to estimate on the fly. A setting of 3 seconds in fair weather allows the driver to estimate their distance as greater or less than a 101-153 foot space, which is reasonably manageable.

        • Umm you must have failed physics. If you are in the "Go Zone" and the light turns yellow you can not stop with out stopping in the intersection. So you must not stop and keep going. However if they change the length of the light to catch more people running red lights this changes the time in which someone can safely stop. So the police are increasing the potential for a wreck just so they can get more money.
        • by Dare nMc (468959)

          If it's green when you see it, assume it will turn yellow at any time: prepare to stop ... If it is red when you see it, assume the idiots coming the other way will run the yellow or red. Wait a second after it turns green then Go.

          being in a major city near a retirement destinations, I am probably seeing the more extreme downside of this practice.
          1) if your stopping/slowing when others aren't, your going to be causing accidents. Granted those accidents won't be "your fault" legally, still not something I l

      • by Ctrl-Z (28806) <{tim} {at} {timcoleman.com}> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:03PM (#22954044) Homepage Journal
        Sadly, this is a fairly common occurrence: 6 Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit [motorists.org]. It is deceitful and just plain wrong.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by malkavian (9512)
        As I had chats with the speed agencies recently, their rules and regulations about speed limits are a joke.
        Over in the UK, the requirements are that there need to be 4 serious injuries within 1km of the spot, and that the 85th percentile of the speeds needs to be above the legal limit.

        However, statistically, the 85th to 90th percentile are the safest drivers (who drive according to what the road and conditions support at the time).
        And also, given any arbitrary 2km stretch of road, given time, there will pro
    • Karma be damned...

      Near my house is a section of roadway (a divided 4-lane) where the limit inexplicably drops from 55mph to 35mph for a half mile. Mind you, there are no curves, intersecting roads or any other "dangers." Guess where the cops set up to bust "speeders"?

      There are those who simply don't happily comply with arbitrary rules when there is no logical reason for the rule, and I'm one of those people. If I'm rolling to a stop sign and can clearly see no oncoming cars (or the police), I'm going to
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dotmax (642602)
        One reason to stop at stop signs is to promote the habit of stopping, reduce the amount of thinking necessary, and thus the possibility for mistakes, at stop signs. For example, If you get in a habit of rolling stopsigns, there's a decent probability that you're going to get seriously T-boned at a two-way stop some day. "Ya,but not if i" blah blah. People make mistakes. You will. GaraunEffngTeed. You really should cultivate good habits, even when nobody is looking. Good habits can buttress you against
      • by Rary (566291)

        There are those who simply don't happily comply with arbitrary rules when there is no logical reason for the rule, and I'm one of those people.

        Arbitrary rules like the inexplicable drop in speed limit you described or the shorter yellow light associated with red light cameras that others have pointed out are the exception, not the rule. I have no problem with you or anyone disregarding the rules in those cases. But, if you roll the dice, you take your chances. I have no sympathy for you if you get ticketed.

        Needless to say, speed traps have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with income.

        Actually, it's a bit of both. Reckless drivers are a legitimate concern, and the police should be doing something about it. I have no probl

        • by Vellmont (569020)

          speed limit you described or the shorter yellow light associated with red light cameras that others have pointed out are the exception, not the rule.

          It wasn't that long ago that the speed limits across the country were an abysmally low 55mph. That's changed not too long ago, and the limits in most states are closer to 65-80 mph, but yet the roads haven't changed. The roads are obviously able to handle the higher speeds, so that would lead me to believe that a few years ago dumb laws were "the rule", and n
    • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:13PM (#22954206)
      I got a 400$ ticket by driving on a road in northern pennsylvania at the posted speed limit. Apparently there had at one time been a speed sign posting that the speed limit dropped by 20 miles per hour (from 55 to 35). However the only sign which was posted had recently been destroyed in an accident. I took photos of the sign. However to protest the ticket would have cost me 75$ in court fees just to protest, a day of lost wages, plus the cost to drive all the way up there and back. In the end, it was cheaper just to take the ticket.
      Obeying the speed limit only works if the police play by the rules, and sadly they don't always like doing that... as Rodney King, or any number of the thousands of police corruption cases on the books can tell you. Why else do you think you're more likely to get pulled over if you're from out of state? You have almost no chance to contest because its almost always cheaper to just accept the ticket - especially if you're from a far distance. This is done on purpose (as a District Attorney told me).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ejasons (205408)

        However to protest the ticket would have cost me 75$ in court fees just to protest, a day of lost wages, plus the cost to drive all the way up there and back. In the end, it was cheaper just to take the ticket.

        Well, then ... frankly, you're part of the problem...

        Consider it your civic duty to protest the injustice in court, even if it is inconvenient, even if it costs more. If more people do this, then the operation becomes less lucrative, and they will then have less incentive to do it.

        I've protested ev

    • by peipas (809350) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:24PM (#22954368)
      It is commonly the case that exceeding the speed limit is safer than steadfastly obeying it regardless of traffic conditions. But this kind of enforcement isn't about safety, it is about revenue.

      For example, note this article [caranddriver.com] from Car and Driver magazine that outlines how fatalities remained static and even went down in some states after the national speed limit was lifted in 1995 and states began raising speed limits, yet authorities claimed they had gone up by not including all of the data. From the article:

      According to the Cato study, in the states in which the IIHS says that highway deaths increased after the speed limits went up, the overall deaths were un-changed. Therefore, on the roads that were not affected by the increased speed limits, the number of traffic fatalities must have decreased by a similar amount.

      This is exactly what one would expect, because the highways with the higher speed limits attract drivers from slower roads. More drivers on the highways mean more accidents and fatalities on the highways, but fewer drivers and fatalities on other roads. Charles Lave, an economics professor at the University of California-Irvine, examined this phenomenon in a study in 1989. He also found that raising highway speed limits allowed police to spend less of their time writing speeding tickets and more time apprehending drunk drivers and patrolling dangerous roads.
    • by ClubStew (113954)
      ...and don't use this service. You're worse than a drunk driver when talking or texting on your cell phone. Obeying the traffic laws all around will help you avoid tickets.
    • by pla (258480)
      Or you know, you could obey the speed limit, stop at red lights, etc. Seems to keep quite a few of us from getting tickets.

      I stop at red lights, and stop signs. I yield at yield signs, stopping if necessary at red yield signs. I generally obey all the "meaningful" trafic control devices, both for my safety and the safety of others on the road.

      I almost never, however, obey the speed limit. States and towns have set them almost ubiquitously low, for reasons that don't apply to most drivers - Revenue c
  • I don't think the idea for this general type of service is anything new. Success will hinge on how well they maintain the integrity of the data. If there's nothing to stop the police or anti-speeding vigilantes from putting in thousands of false alarms, it will fail. If the data is all out of date or coverage is so spotty you can't rely on it, it will fail.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:40PM (#22953680) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about you but it takes more mental effort to carry on a conversation than to dial a phone or hold it up to my ear. The latter two are practically robotic to me by now.

    Rather than banning certain activities like shaving, talking on a cell, fiddling with the radio, or tending to unruly children, train new drivers on how to drive with common every-day distractions, train them to use common sense in minimizing distractions in unfamiliar environments, and if they get in a wreck and a distraction is one of the factors, let that affect who is deemed "at fault."
  • by BigGar' (411008) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:41PM (#22953694) Homepage
    sending a text message, however brief, and it is not hand free and thus may fall under the guidelines of some of the laws that are on the books or proposed.
    Especially if you get someone who has some cell phone activity right before an accident.
  • by transporter_ii (986545) * on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:43PM (#22953736) Homepage

    But I posted on about an almost identical system, which I called "copwatch" here on Slashdot, about a year ago...and it was something I 100% thought out on my own. Pretty cool someone did it.

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=227045&cid=18394299

    March 18 2007

    Basically, it uses the same principle, but every time you see a traffic cop, you press a button somewhere in your car. Your car, with the use of a GPS, then beacons the location of the police car. Other cars then repeat the beacon, which does have a TTL value on it as well.

    To prevent false positives, there is a limit to how many reports someone could generate in a set time period, and multiple reports in the same area could mod the threat up.

    This would all be happening pretty transparently to everyone, unless they were within a set distance of an active alert, at which point they would be alerted to the danger.

  • by markov_chain (202465) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @01:43PM (#22953750) Homepage
    Maybe troopers will start to hide around halfway between towers now ;)

    - *flashing lights*
    - Guy gets pulled over
    - "license and registration please"
    - cell phone beeps "speed trap ahead"
    - "Oh what have we got here?"
  • Would this be classed as "interfering with a police investigation(s)" ?
    • I doubt it, as freedom of speech would trump it (there was a similar case arguing that flashing headlights to warn of upcoming law enforcement was protected speech; the court ruled it was).
  • no 'itsatrap' tag yet for the most obvious story to get one. Slashdotters are slipping.
  • by ATestR (1060586)

    Police officials that Tenereillo has talked to haven't complained about the service because it inevitably encourages drivers to slow down.

    So all the cops have to do to slow traffic down city wide would be two periodically send a car around with an officer punching #1 into his cellphone at many locations. This way users would know that there are speed traps EVERYWHERE.

  • Arms Race (Score:4, Funny)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:18PM (#22954288) Journal
    I wonder what the cops will come up with the counter this technology. Sure, some departments just want you to slow down, but others just want your money.

    My friend just bought a shiny new radar detector. Radar detectors are illegal in some places and the cops can find out if your using one with a radar detector detector. My friend's new radar detector prevents that from happening because it has a radar detector detector detector that shuts off the radar detector if it detects a radar detector detector.

    Seriously, this arms race has to stop! I'm sick of using the word detector!
  • The city and police as an organization probably would. Speed traps have nothing to do with enforcing the law and everything to do with revenue generation. If this gets in the way of their revenue generation, you can bet they will try to find a way to make it illegal.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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