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Washington Police: Using iPhone App to Avoid Speed Traps “Cowardly”
Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 3:21 PM - by Bryan Chaffin
Washington D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier is denouncing the use of an iPhone app to avoid speed traps and red light traffic cameras as a "cowardly" act, and warned said cowards that they would be caught, one way or another, if they break D.C. traffic laws.
"I think that's the whole point of this program," Ms. Lanier told The Washington Examiner. "It's designed to circumvent law enforcement -- law enforcement that is designed specifically to save lives."
Conventional wisdom holds that if you want to avoid getting a traffic ticket, your best course of action is to go the speed limit and obey traffic lights. With iPhone apps like Trapster and GPS-related services such as PhantomAlert, however, drivers can get alerts when they approach known speed trap and traffic camera locations.
The cynical among us might point out that Washington D.C. has generated some US$1 billion in revenue from photo radar tickets in fiscal 2005-2008, and it would be easy to leap to the conclusion that concern over such revenues lies at the heart of any concern over circumvention tools ranging from radar detectors to new tools such as the above-mentioned software.
The reality, however, is that for most large-city police departments, police chiefs such as Ms. Lanier don't have access to or control over revenues generated from traffic tickets.
Speaking of Ms. Lanier, she told The Examiner that it would be too difficult to outlaw GPS-related software tools, though radar detectors are already outlawed. "With the Internet and all the new technology," she said, "it's almost impossible to stop the flow of information."
We'll close our coverage by quoting our friend Jim Dalrymple at Loop Insight, who quipped, "Want to foil police efforts to catch speeders in Washington, D.C.? There's an app for that."
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