We recently reported on a teenager who is using GPS technology to try to get out of a speeding ticket
. Website, Njection
wants you to avoid getting speeding tickets in the first place by using your GPS navigation device.
Njection features a tool it calls a "Speedtrap Mashup
." The tool uses map data from Microsoft Virtual Earth
and overlays onto that data with known speed traps and red light cameras. How are the trap and camera locations known? Because Njection users enter the information into the site, which then gets added into the site's growing database. Visitors to the site can search for speed traps and red light cameras in the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe, and see where the traps and cameras are on the map. The site claims that it currently has data on over 50,000 speed traps.
Online maps are great, but wouldn't it be much more efficient if you could have the information with you while you are driving, and be warned automatically when you approach a trap? If you possess one of the site's supported GPS devices (from Garmin, Magellan, Navman, and Tom Tom), then such a scenario is possible. The data is collected into point-of-interest (POI) files, which can be downloaded from the site and installed onto a GPS device. The site even includes directions for how to transfer the POI files to a GPS device and how to set up proximity alerts to warn you when you are approaching a trap or camera. In order to access the download files you must purchase a subscription, which ranges in price from $24.99 to $39.99."Red light cameras and speed traps are good ideas in theory, but not quite when put into practice. They have become a convenient and socially accepted way to fine drivers and increase local revenue while not actually enhancing road safety, as studies have shown. Article after article nationwide cites how red light cameras are used to increase the amount of money certain cities receive from fines, how well over half of certain towns' operating budgets come from speeding tickets, and yet how particular kinds of accidents, such as rear-end crashes, actually increase regardless of speed traps."
Reuters reports that the site is the side project of 33-year old, full-time systems engineer, Shannon Atkinson. Atkinson claims that he's actually received "lots if positive feed back
[sic] from police officers
" who are happy if putting this data into people's hands helps get them to slow down. Atkinson, added, however, that some municipalities might not like the idea if this also means potentially decreasing revenue from fines paid for speeding and red-light violations.