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Photo Radar Camera Detectors

Call it what you like: photo radar, photo cop, unconstitutional, or a political hot button. Whatever your words for the technology, automatic traffic violation detectors (such as speed cameras and red light cameras) are here to stay. Fortunately, so are devices that detect the detectors.

Once thought of as enemies to law enforcement, much like radar detectors, today's laser and radar detectors offer benefits to drivers (other than freedom to drive recklessly). Some models remind drivers to slow down by displaying both speed limit and actual driving speed. Longer detection ranges give drivers a fair warning to obey the law―before they get caught. Without having to be on the lookout for photo cops, drivers can pay attention to their driving, obey the speed limit, and even stop in time at red lights.

Some types of detectors might be illegal in your area, like laser and radar detectors that alert you when your speed is being monitored. There are also units that jam the laser or radar signals, sending a scrambled signal to the speed or red light camera which it cannot decipher.

If you intend to purchase such a detector, be sure it warns you against every type of red light or speed camera in your area. Otherwise, you will be in for a surprise when you speed past a police officer or run a red light and he or she hands you a traffic ticket, earning you points against your driver's license, and in turn having your insurance rates skyrocket.

In the U.S., there is at least one type of detector that is most likely to remain legal, the kind that works by GPS. When you approach a location in the database of U.S. camera locations, the detector alerts you. It also has room for you to add 1,000 locations of your own. Unfortunately, this detector doesn't have a way of being updated yet, and the database will eventually get outdated.

Remember that many cameras are not mounted in fixed locations like sign poles. In some cities, such as Denver, they are attached to vans or temporary poles―the locations of which could change any time.

Of course, you can always just check out this novel concept: slow down, obey the speed limit, drive in the proper lane, and stop at red lights.

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