6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

speedcam   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed TrapsI have the misfortune of working in a town that is very likely the capital of speed traps for all of Maine and very likely the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. The town is North Berwick, Maine. Unlike most other small towns that try to gauge their speed limits to match safe driving conditions and the general driving speed of 90 percent of drivers on that area of road, this particular town drops the speed on these long and straight stretches of road from 45 miles per hour down to 25 miles per hour.

On these roads, patrol officers enjoy sitting at several spots that maximize the likelihood they will clock someone speeding who has just passed the drop in speed, without realizing it. The road doesn’t change, but the speed does. It is the perfect definition of an unjust police radar speed trap. It was on this road, on a bright and sunny day, that an especially arrogant officer decided to pull me over and charge me with criminal speeding. A charge that, in the U.S, could carry a fine of up to $500, a suspended license and possible jail time.


I visited one of the best lawyers I knew, gave him the details and paid him the lawyer fee. He was able to take care of the ticket for me. However, the lesson I learned from this experience, the third or fourth speeding ticket I’ve received in this particular speed-trap town called North Berwick, is that there are occasionally those communities that are unscrupulous in collecting funds from such unfair and unjust posted speed limits. It’s for this reason that I was very pleased to discover not one or two, but six technological solutions that can give the poor, unsuspecting citizen a little bit of an advantage in these dangerous and unfair police radar speed traps.

Tools To Combat Unfair Police Radar Speed Traps

One of the first things I did when I upgraded from my Windows Mobile phone to a GPS-enabled Motorola Droid was to check what applications are available that might help protect me from such unscrupulous speed traps by local cops like the officer that pulled me over. The first online system that I discovered is also the one that I consider the absolute best one out there – Trapster. There’s an entire online system on the website that shows you all of the active speed traps. The map is constantly updating and changing as new reports come in from all across the world.

traps1   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

Of course, the best part of the community-driven Trapster system is that there are mobile apps for just about any mobile device out there, including Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and even certain GPS systems. You can set these apps to alert you any time you come within range of a known speed trap, or a recently reported police stake-out location.

traps3   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

You can set the alert distance from the speed trap so that you have plenty of time to look for the sudden change in speed limit and slow down to the posted speed. Most importantly, when you spot a speed trap that wasn’t recognized or alerted by Trapster – do your part to make the system more effective by adding that speed trap into Trapster’s database.

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Here, I’ve added the famous Morrell’s Mill Rd, North Berwick, Maine speed traps to Trapster’s database. Hopefully that will save a driver or two from the horrible fate of having their wallet drained into the town coffers.

traps4   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

For the sake of variety, I’m going to cover the top sites out there that can give you additional insight into the police radar speed traps in your area. Unfortunately, most of the remaining online services are focused primarily within the U.S. Or course, maybe that’s because the U.S. is most plagued by such unreasonable speed traps?  CopSpy is one of these useful websites. This is more of a log of historical speed traps, with comments about particular speed trap areas that date back to 2003 and go up to today. You can really get to know the habits of local police by reading through these citizen logs.

traps5   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

The Bear Traps website, shown above, provides a very basic and general overview of the police trap “hot spots” along any major Interstate in the United States. The site lists all reported red light cameras as police radar speed traps that were reported by citizens for major highways and exits.

traps6   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

Njection, a popular automotive website and forum, offers this awesome mashup that provides a satellite overview with a layer for crashes or speed traps. This particular system doesn’t feature a whole lot of speed traps (nowhere near the number Trapster offers), but as far as crash history, the system is remarkable. You can view all crashes reported throughout the history of the system – which really offers a great oversight as to what areas are dangerous. The speed trap feature is also useful and is still getting updated, but the user base needs to grow a bit more for it to be very effective as a real-time reporting tool.

traps7   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

SpeedTrap labels itself as the National Speed Trap Exchange, and this is exactly the public service that the site provides for U.S. citizens. No matter what town you check, you’ll likely discover well written speed trap reports from local residents who are fed up with the unfair and unjust tactics of local police departments.

traps8   6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps

Police Traps is an excellent International resource that covers police trap sightings, red light cameras and traffic incidents all throughout the world. In the map above you can see the mashup for reports throughout Europe. This resource does have a fair user base and could rival Trapster in its usefulness.

Have you had your own experience getting caught in an unfair speed trap? Do you have any of your own favorite resources that you use to find which towns have such areas with inappropriate posted speed limits? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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23 Comments -

0 votes

piperlee

we nead more of this but only to stops fines
not young people breaking the law to get away from the police i think the police do agood job

0 votes

mojo

get yourselves a decent radar detector. none of that cobra stuff (i’ve tried em and they give you about 2 seconds warning, not useful in my opinion). spend at least $300. i got a belltronics that is the the same hardware as the passport/escort. or if you have an extra couple hundred bucks get a v1. mine picks traps up at very large distance ahead, even around corners, even around mountains and even when there’s not a lot of other traffic on the road. if it chirps KA, it’s usually a highway patrol.

another trick is to use a “rabbit.” an idiot that speeds without a radar detector, or even worse (better :) one that thinks he’s protected cause he has a cobra. and follow him at a safe distance with a real radar detector. maybe even get up next to him and challenge him–this ensures that he will continue speeding–then fall back and use him as a shield.

also, if you see trucks speeding, it’s usually safe to speed. they have cb radio and know whats up b4 you do.

some guys that are really hardcore about speeding, use something called a pre-radar detector. it is some sort of radio (cb? not sure).

0 votes

GeekBrad

How lame is this? Pay attention, slow down, leave earlier if you are in a hurry. Or I guess it’s more important that you shave 5 seconds off your lunch trip to McDonalds by speeding down my street?

Go speed out on the interstate, but if you’re complaining about not being able to speed in a 25 mph zone like you open the article with, it’s hard to have any sympathy for you.

0 votes

yo momma

Agreed!

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Hey GeekBrad,
The point is that the street is mis-posted. Normally the DOT will do a traffic survey to gauge the speed that the average driver considers safe and reasonable. That’s typically the posted limit – however *some* towns (like the one I listed) pick a spot where road conditions don’t change at all, but drop the limit unexpectedly from 45 to 25 (like in this case). Hence the term “speed trap”.

This article is not to justify or promote speeding in a *legitimate* 25mph zone. It’s to protect people from those areas that are not appropriately posted and used to “trap” people who had no intention of ever speeding in areas where a particular speed is unsafe.

That – and because these mobile social networks are really cool.

0 votes

GeekBrad

Hi Ryan,

So I’m curious – you know for a fact that your DOT never surveyed this road, and you know that instead the town decided to create a speed trap instead? In other words, how do you know it’s not legitimate? Since you don’t like it?

“Legitimate” or “approprate”, in this context, are just opinions and not fact. I know some people driving down my 25 MPH street feel the speed is too low and want to go faster… but I think it’s right. And, since it’s posted at 25 MPH, that’s the speed limit. End of story.

If you don’t think a limit is correct, then complain to the DOT, or your Mayor or city council or someone. Either you’re right, and they’ll change it, or you’re wrong, and they won’t. To just take it upon yourself to decide which limits are valid and aren’t isn’t very social… you’re selfishly and needlessly putting your personal desires above the rights of others to, say, live on a safe and quiet street.

Again I say – if you have to fulfill your need for speed, take it to the interstate, at least. Take it to a remote road. Take it to the track, where you can do a lot better than 45, and don’t have to worry about killing a kid walking on the side of the road. Driving fast is fun, I agree. But don’t do it in or near town, where people live and drive and walk their dogs on the streets too. And if you are one of those speeders since you are chronically late, then grow up and learn to manage your time like an adult. ;)

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Several clues – this is the only town I’ve received speeding tickets, because I’m don’t speed. Although the kneejerk reaction when someone complains about inappropriately marked signs is typically yours – to assume the driver is a speedster.

Yes, I’ve forwarded the information to the DOT, asked for the existing survey, and alerted them that the area is likely posted inappropriately. And by the way, this article is my style of complaining to the town council…I’m forwarding a copy to them this week.

And finally – I have no need for speed. But I have started avoiding the routes where I know these speed traps exist, because all it takes is a daydream and you miss that drop from 45 to 25. As I said, the road doesn’t change, the neighborhood doesn’t change – the only thing that changes is this odd location of 45 to 25. The only thing that doesn’t change is the cruiser parked just after the sign to take advantage of the injustice.

I realize that you may live in an area where the limit is legitimately 25 – and in most cases it should be, and yes, I know people like to speed faster in residential areas or school zones. But this isn’t the case that this article refers to – I am referring to a case where the 45mph neighborhood is no different than the 25mph neighborhood, and anyone who has ever been caught in such a situation like this knows exactly what sort of unfair conditions this article refers to.

Thanks for your input.

-Ryan

0 votes

GeekBrad

Hi again,

Thanks for the reply. So what I’m reading is – no, you have no idea if this is a ‘legitimate’ speed change or not. It would be interesting if you followed up with the comments from your DOT on this area when you get them. My guess is you will be surprised and find that someone – a traffic engineer whose job it is to do this – has actually made a rational calculation about why the speed changes there and can justify that argument. And it’s often slower than what you think an “average driver” would want, or even what the road was originally designed for. This happens for lots of reasons – there’s one near me that I was involved in planning for recently, it was originally built and signed at 35, in a residential area. After a few years, and two children killed at one intersection, it was moved down to 25. That, to me, is a rational reason to slow the traffic down, but it sure won’t be obvious to anyone trying to hurry since they’re late for work. You’d have to know not only the road itself and the neighborhood, but also the history of the area to understand why the limit is what it is.

So please follow this up when you find out – it will be educational for everyone to see if you can make more progress solving the problem (DOT) or just hiding/avoiding it (avoiding ‘traps’). Or post the specific address you are talking about now, let us internet weenies dig into it, check it out on the map, etc. See what public opinion thinks about your intersection. ; )

And, of course, if you see an article outlining how to avoid cops with radar, taking a very clear “these are bad” position, and then the author even makes a few snarky replies to another commenter – calling him a cop (and implying that is an insult), it’s a pretty short leap for one of the readers to assume the author is a speeder too. Nice try at a recovery, though, in the replies to my comment, you come across as more calm and rational there. ; )

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Thanks,

Considering I’ve driven the country roads in Maine for over 20 years, I would say that common sense says this long, straight stretch is very oddly posted. Like you, I used to live on a road (on a curve) in a small Maine town that was on a curve and insanely posted at 35 mph…it clearly should have been 25mph, and I personally witnessed an accident there.

Again – common sense dictates…however, your point about the history of the road is a very good one. I will definitely follow up with comments from DOT when (and if) I get them. On the flip side I think you’d be very surprised how many small town cops are a bit overzealous about identifying these areas and taking advantage of them.

It’s no secret that small towns do this. In a 2007 article by Jennifer Merin titled “Do you want to drive in Maine?” where she writes:

“Others — especially those from neighboring New Hampshire — who were in court to contest tickets they’d received, confided to me that they’d never drive in Maine unless they were in vehicles with Maine plates.

Maine, however, isn’t the nation’s only state with speed traps. According to the NMA list, every state — including Alaska and Hawaii — has egregious speed traps where an inordinate number of summons is issued.

You can study the entire list on MNA’s Web site: http://www.motorists.org/blog/speed-traps/the-worst-speed-trap-cities-in-the-united-states).”

I’ve been in this online writing business for a long time, so yes, I can get a bit “snarky” when I recognize when folks have immediately jumped to respond for personal reasons (either personally against the author or one small snippet of the article), rather than the article as a whole. Your request that I post the exact address is evidence that you didn’t read the article, otherwise you’d know that I showed a visual example of how to add a point in Trapster, and I wrote: “Here, I’ve added the famous Morrell’s Mill Rd, North Berwick, Maine speed traps to Trapster’s database.”

Did you miss that? Or did you race so quick to the comment area after reading the first paragraph that you didn’t even realize it was there? Most readers who have so far read the article recognize the value of this new technology – on the other hand, two particular commentators (who both responded on the same day and only an hour from each other) took a much more personal and knee-jerk approach to the opening paragraph alone, clearly without reading the article.

“Nice try at a recovery, though, in the replies to my comment, you come across as more calm and rational there.”

Yes, I tend to respond in kind to the tone of reader comments. ;)

Thanks for your comments.
-Ryan

0 votes

mchlbk

The lamest MUO article ever.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Thanks for your detailed and intelligent feedback, officer. :)

0 votes

mchlbk

If you really think details are needed you are probably not intelligent enough to understand them.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

A disgruntled cop folks – here’s proof that apps like Trapster are changing the game. Kudos to the Trapster users!

0 votes

MicroBuntu

be moving stateside soon. this will come in handy.

0 votes

mchlbk

Subscription cancelled.

0 votes

Aibek

well, we’ll still miss you.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Thanks,

Considering I’ve driven the country roads in Maine for over 20 years, I would say that common sense says this long, straight stretch is very oddly posted. Like you, I used to live on a road (on a curve) in a small Maine town that was on a curve and insanely posted at 35 mph…it clearly should have been 25mph, and I personally witnessed an accident there.

Again – common sense dictates…however, your point about the history of the road is a very good one. I will definitely follow up with comments from DOT when (and if) I get them. On the flip side I think you’d be very surprised how many small town cops are a bit overzealous about identifying these areas and taking advantage of them.

It’s no secret that small towns do this. In a 2007 article by Jennifer Merin titled “Do you want to drive in Maine?” where she writes:

“Others — especially those from neighboring New Hampshire — who were in court to contest tickets they’d received, confided to me that they’d never drive in Maine unless they were in vehicles with Maine plates.

<snip>

Maine, however, isn’t the nation’s only state with speed traps. According to the NMA list, every state — including Alaska and Hawaii — has egregious speed traps where an inordinate number of summons is issued.

<snip>

You can study the entire list on MNA’s Web site: http://www.motorists.org/blog/speed-t...“
</snip></snip>

I’ve been in this online writing business for a long time, so yes, I can get a bit “snarky” when I recognize when folks have immediately jumped to respond for personal reasons (either personally against the author or one small snippet of the article), rather than the article as a whole. Your request that I post the exact address is evidence that you didn’t read the article, otherwise you’d know that I showed a visual example of how to add a point in Trapster, and I wrote: “Here, I’ve added the famous Morrell’s Mill Rd, North Berwick, Maine speed traps to Trapster’s database.”

Did you miss that? Or did you race so quick to the comment area after reading the first paragraph that you didn’t even realize it was there? Most readers who have so far read the article recognize the value of this new technology – on the other hand, two particular commentators (who both responded on the same day and only an hour from each other) took a much more personal and knee-jerk approach to the opening paragraph alone, clearly without reading the article.

“Nice try at a recovery, though, in the replies to my comment, you come across as more calm and rational there.”

Yes, I tend to respond in kind to the tone of reader comments. ;)

Thanks for your comments.
-Ryan

0 votes

Edward

this is sweet. thanks guys very useful. heard on the news police pull people over to make a quota. shameful. dont see why people need to complain so much. dont like it, say so and drop it. or is somebody trying to troll?

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Thanks Herb – they work well…I highly recommend Trapster, as the user base is very large and growing daily.