Device alerts drivers to red-light and speed cameras


In the LA Times' technology blog, Alex Pham writes about the Cobra XRS 9960G radar and laser detector, which can detect red light cameras and speed cameras.

The Chicago company does this by maintaining a database of intersections known to have red-light cameras and stretches of road with speeding cameras. The database currently has more than 5,000 intersections, speed camera locations and popular speed traps. But it's being updated twice a day by Cobra employees who are tasked with finding and verifying new locations by calling various cities, police departments and local businesses near major intersections. Due out in the spring, the detectors are priced from $389 to $439, depending on the model.
A radar detector that also alerts drivers to red-light and speed cameras


  1. Interesting – so, are municipalities legally obligated to disclose the locations of said cameras? If not, I wonder what the success rate is in finding this info out via phone call. Otherwise, I suppose the info could be assembled via crowdsourcing ala submissions from drivers familiar with local camera locations.

  2. Old news in the UK. My GPS tells me where speed cameras are and what speed I should be doing. The A-Z map of London has speed camera locations on it and so does the AA and RAC road maps of Britain.

    The only new thing might be the red lights but there’s no particular use that I can see and I have a funny feeling that you can buy a GPS with that function on it.

  3. i’ve often fantasized about ticket fees varying based on the value of the vehicle… or tax bracket of the driver…

    it would also be nice if they were made of chocolate.

  4. In many major North American jurisdictions, radar detectors are illegal because they might prompt you to slow down, thus costing the government ticket revenue..

  5. I can download a database of red light and (fixed location) speed cameras for my gps. The gps warns me at about one block away as I approach.

  6. Really, if you feel a need for this kind of device you shouldn’t have a car or a drivers licence.

  7. @#5- They also effectively tell you when it’s “safe” to speed, defeating the other purpose of them, namely giving the less safety conscious a reason to obey the law with a half of ton of metal

  8. Does it tell you when high school kids are using your license plate printed on glossy paper and speeding around town trying to get you a ticket?

  9. FYI these are illegal to possess or use in Canada.
    PS I like the Scandinavian “sliding scale” of fines BTW. If fines are meant to deter the conduct of the individual, then it ought to be in a just proportion to that individual’s resources; so that the rich and the poor feel the same sting, so to speak, for identical misconduct.

  10. Or you could just drive legally and save money on both this device and on tickets when you forget to turn on the device.

  11. Ugly Canuck –

    they aren’t radar detectors, which are illegal, but just a GPS device that beeps when your location on the map gets close to a speed camera or red light camera location in their database. You could do this with your GPS, but it would mean denoting all the cameras yourself (not to mention we don’t have speed cameras in Canada and I can only think of 3 or 4 intersections that have red light cameras). Road Angel has existed in the UK for years and years offering this exact service.

    But this brings to attention the fact that now people will be told that they can blow the next red light because there’s no camera. Morons like that should be collected, put into a big arena where they would all fight to the death, then the winner would be put on a pedestal and… Well, George Carlin can tell you the rest.

  12. @#11: Driving at the posted speed limit can actually be much more dangerous than speeding. This is because the people around you generally drive at the speed which is comfortable for the road, which is almost always faster than the posted signs.

    And there is simply no way to convince everyone drive the posted limit. People will just go at what is comfortable, which also happens to be, in general, still a safe speed as well as being more efficient (less time and fuel spent).

    Speed limits are set too low in many places. (On purpose maybe?)

    As for running red signals, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone else run a red light in my life. Is this really a big problem? I bet people going through red lights and causing accidents aren’t paying attention in the first place, so a camera makes little difference.

    In fact, when I was looking for numbers on this, all I could find were all kinds of sources indicating that cameras cause more accidents, with drivers braking hard on yellows to avoid a chance at getting a ticket. Then add the six US cities that were intentionally shortening yellow lights to increase the camera profits, making the situation worse.

    I have carefully gone through red lights myself late at night when no one was around, instead waiting around alone for two minutes for no one. This device would give me a heads up in that situation. There is no reason to wait other than to follow the law, and the only reason to follow the law is to not get caught breaking the law (if you respond to this sentence, make sure you understand it fully first).

  13. Day late and a dollar short, as it seems that the ability of pranksters to easily spoof these cameras by simply photoshopping license plate numbers and taping them over the real plate, will soon give everyone the “reasonable doubt” necessary to fight these in court.

  14. There is no reason to wait other than to follow the law, and the only reason to follow the law is to not get caught breaking the law

    In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.

    -Hunter S. Thompson

  15. A buyer would have to expect to pay more in tickets than this device costs. In other words, they’re planning on speeding (naturally) and running red lights (wtf?). Maybe law enforcement will have a database that tracks the cars of people with this device so they can catch them running red lights.

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