Fuzz Alert

July 22nd, 2009 | Sources: Washington Post


Steven Forage, a metro-DC-based software salesman spends 5 hours per day behind the wheel. Like so many others, he’s closing deals on his cell, drinking coffee and checking email, in addition to driving.

Ihadyougoing87One thing he worries about no more, however, is getting nailed by a speed camera.

That’s because Forage tricked-out his Caddy with PhantomAlert, a system that links all known locations of the cameras with his GPS and warns him when he’s approaching one.

“Fuzz alert!” shouts an electronic voice from his dashboard. “Ding, ding. Ding, ding. Fuzz alert!”

PhantomAlert has subscribers all over the country, including more than 2,000 in metro-DC alone according to it’s owner, Joseph Scott.

Scott’s employees access the locations of speed cameras from government and police Web sites, and receive tips from subscribers as well.

Scott believes cops should dig his device, since after all the cameras are there to slow-down drivers and not generate cash from tickets. “Not only should they support us,” Scott told the Washington Post, “but when they mail out citations, on the back they should say, ‘Get PhantomAlert.’ “

endoftheroadSome officials disagree. “If drivers think they only get a ticket when their little device goes off, that could lead them into a false sense of security, which could cause them to speed,” Lisa Sutter, a District employee who runs camera enforcement operations in DC told the Post.

But in fact others see merit in Scott’s device. Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, thinks PhantomAlert could create a perception that there is more surveillance going on at any time than is actually the case. “If it’s a deterrent, that’s a good thing,” Geller said.


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