Red (Light) Alert

Forewarned is forearmed. That truism has a new meaning when it comes to Global Positioning Systems, because motorists with these devices can now get an early warning about red-light cameras and speed traps, helping them conform to the letter of the law. PhantomAlert Inc., a leading provider of passive, anti-radar and red-light camera products, has announced a limited, free distribution of a GPS-based database that locates and warns drivers about stationary red-light and speed cameras, as well as traditional speed trap locations.

Designed to work with the new PhantomAlert device of PhantomPlate Inc., the proprietary database “…is the biggest breakthrough motorists have seen since radar detectors,” said Joe Scott, PhantomPlate’s director of marketing. The company’s new red-light, speed-camera detector works by using GPS to map out the locations of all known traffic enforcement locations. The location database is then loaded on a GPS product similar to a radar detector.

PhantomAlert can store 150,000 positions in its database, and the company says all cameras and speed traps in North America are covered. The proprietary database was developed with input from motorists themselves. It is a dynamic source of up-to-date information that is verified by thousands of drivers with intimate knowledge of the enforcement locations. Speed-camera locations are divided into different data sets to distinguish between fixed speed cameras, mobile camera positions, red-light cameras, schools, and high-collision areas. The PhantomAlert GPS speed-camera detector can also subdivide some of these groups by speed limit and allocate a voice alert.

The tiny PhantomAlert unit has an LED display. When a warning is triggered, a chime is heard followed by an announcement. The speed limit at the camera site will flash before going back to displaying the vehicle’s speed. This will typically happen at approximately 600 yards from the camera position. A second chime is heard at 200 yards from the camera site, and if the vehicle is still over the speed limit, a continuous warning is heard until the vehicle speed drops to the speed limit, or the camera site is passed, at which time an “all clear” chime is heard.

PhantomAlert detects Gatso, Truvelo, SPECS, Speedmaster, DS2, traffic-light cameras, high-traffic collision areas and all other permanent safety cameras. The detector will give an over-speed warning in close proximity to the camera if exceeding the speed limit but will automatically mute when within the speed limit. Drivers are warned of only cameras on their immediate routes, thereby negating false alerts. Drivers are also advised as they approach high-collision areas.

The unit announces close proximity to schools from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., helping assure that these important low-speed zones are honored. The unit displays the vehicle’s current location as latitude and longitude, which can be relayed to emergency services or breakdown authorities if needed. Priced at $219, the half-pound unit is ready to ship now.