Smart phones and GPS devices can now be used to avoid speeding tickets and red light infractions.
The new ticket-avoiding technology can be downloaded to your cell phone, Blackberry or iPhone. But the police and some politicians fear these devices will cause even more distractions for drivers who are juggling their cell phones while they drive.
The Trapster app provides detailed maps of speed-enforcement zones with live speed cameras, police traps, or red-light cameras. Launch the app on your gadget of choice and it loads a map that locates traps around you; an audio alert sounds as vehicles approach any tagged areas.
Austin Powers and Arnold Schwarznegger are just two of the voices on your smart phone that can help save you from a traffic ticket. The problem: The app relies on input from other users to determine where speed traps lie, and data doesn't seem to be purged often enough.
"The data seemed accurate enough," noted Foxnews.com auto editor Gary Gastelu. "My Blackberry would buzz and I'd pass a billboard or turn out or other spot where a stakeout could be, but never actually encountered one." The speed trap info was often outdated, it turns out, and in busy municipal areas such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, the map packs dozens of warnings onto each highway.
"I left it on my dashboard and the buzzing became really distracting, a classic case of too much information" Gastelu notes. California highway patrol officers aren't sure it's a good idea either. While they aren't officially against apps like Trapster, they believe strongly that drivers don't need any more distractions.
"There are so many different things that people feel they need to do as they are making their commute, when they should just be concentrating one hundred percent on their driving and surroundings," notes California Highway Patrol officer Travis Ruiz.
Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.