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Apps and Other Tech to Help End Speeding Tickets

By Aaron Crowe

Anyone who has driven on a highway or most other roads knows that speed limits are meant to be broken.

We’re not saying drivers should break the law on purpose, but since speed limits are supposed to be set at the 85th percentile of the flow of traffic, it’s easy to see that the speed limit on many roads is much lower than the 85th percentile.

Traffic often moves much faster than the law calls for. Depending on your point of view, that’s either dangerous, or could be viewed as safer because everyone is driving similar speeds. Whatever your take, chances are that a police officer won’t agree with the argument of driving with the flow of traffic if it’s above the speed limit.

But there are ways to avoid getting a speeding ticket, and thanks to new technology and smartphone apps, there are some high-tech ways to help drivers not get caught speeding. Here are a few:

Automatic braking near roadside cameras

This technology is starting in only Australia and South Korea, so don’t get your hopes up yet in America. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis has an automatic braking system that uses cameras and radar sensors to alert the driver to dangers ahead, such as a stopped car near a turn that’s hard to see in a storm, and automatically brakes if the driver doesn’t react.

Its GPS is preloaded with the locations of roadside cameras that track speeding cars and send out tickets. The car alerts the driver that he’s about to speed past a camera, and, if necessary, automatically brakes so that he isn’t driving over the speed limit.

Radar detectors

These have been around since your dad was young as a way to know if police are nearby so you can slow down in time. They’ve improved to use GPS technology that automatically learns by the exact location and frequency of each radar signal.

The Passport 9500ix, made by a company called Escort, is the top of the line in radar detectors, says Kristofer Kirchen, president of First Florida Insurance Network of Central Florida. While Kirchen doesn’t make a practice of speeding, as an insurance agent he likes to play it safe in case he should creep up over the speed limit.

The Passport 9500ix uses a database subscription to mark typical speedtrap areas, red light cameras and speed cameras. Kirchen says his automatically increases range with speed, locks out false alerts, and can show the number and band of radar signals detected. The device costs $450 and the database subscription is $20 for one year.

Roadside camera spotters

Like the radar detector above that has a database of speed cameras that can send speeding tickets, there are other GPS makers that sell subscription services of updated lists of roadside camera locations.

TomTom has such a service, as does Garmin. For $10 a month or $30 a year, the Phantom Alert smartphone app shows red light cameras, speed cameras and live traffic along your route, along with an audible alert so you’ll have time to slow down. It even claims to alert drivers to DUI checkpoints.

“If you hate traffic tickets, then this is a service for you,” the Phantom Alert website says.

Share information with other drivers

This free, real-time Waze app helps drivers select the best rout with other drivers who share traffic and road information. Waze also marks police locations that might not be exact, but still gives an idea of a hot spot coming up.

AutoGuard app

This app turns your phone into a dash cam, and has video and GPS tracking, and includes maps and speed limits. For about $3, it can record video as you drive, which can be used as proof of what happened if you’re pulled over and have to go to court.

Aaron Crowe is a journalist who covers the auto industry for CheapCarInsurance.net.