It all started, of course, with the radar guns used by police officers to detect speeders. Then came radar detectors used by motorists who wanted to skedaddle faster than posted speed limits.
Then police began using laser units which are more effective and more accurate than radar guns and so on and so on.
Now, the latest “upgrade” in this ongoing game of high-tech one-upmanship: Trapster. Trapster is a service developed and run by Pete Tenereillo of Carlsbad, California, and is essentially a cell-phone social network that allows motorists to hook up with one another for the purpose of issuing real-time alerts about the location of speed traps.
Trapster works like this: Go to the Web site, and sign up for a free membership. Then download the Trapster software to your cell phone or PDA. Tenereillo said that most current-generation cell phones, Blackberries and other PDA’s can accommodate the Trapster software.
Then, you’re ready to hit the road. And once you’re tooling down the highway, if you spot a state trooper or city cop lying in wait with a radar gun or laser unit, you just need to punch in “pound one” on your cell phone — or dial a toll-free number. Other users are then alerted on their cell phones or PDA when they approach the same speed trap …
“One great thing about that is that it’s hands-free,” says Tenereillo. “You don’t have to be looking at the phone or even be holding it to be notified of the speed trap — which, of course, is safer, because you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to be notified of the trap.”
The more sophisticated cell phones/PDAs can also display a map that displays the exact location of the speed trap. “But obviously, people should pull over if they’re going to look at the map,” Tenereillo added.
Trapster was launched in April, and while Tenereillo declined to comment on the exact number of subscribers, he did say the site is booming. “We’re going crazy, we’ve had so many people sign up that it’s been hard to keep up with,” he said. “We initially had some capacity issues as a result, so we had to re-do some of the architecture.”
Tenereillo said one thing that surprised him is that “about half of our initial subscribers were soccer moms. But, when you think about it, that makes sense, they’re in the car the most, and they take a lot of short trips, driving their kids to and from school, soccer practice, music lessons, etcetera — so they’re the ones getting the worst tickets, like for driving 53 [mph] in a 35 [mph] zone. Those are worse tickets than the ones you get out on the highway because judges show no mercy when it comes to speeding in residential neighborhoods or adjacent surface streets.” – cnn