I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.