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Technology helps drivers avoid traps

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Local,Transportation,Hayley Peterson

Washington-area drivers looking to avoid speed camera tickets can take advantage of a number of smartphone applications and websites that keep track of where cameras are located.

A variety of smartphone apps, such as Trapster, depend on users to keep track of camera locations. When the Trapster application is open and running, it alerts drivers with a sound -- mimicking a radar detector -- when they are approaching a potential speed trap. Radar detectors are outlawed in D.C. and Virginia.

Another application, PhantomAlert, employs a similar concept -- but is designed for use with drivers' GPS devices. Users of PhantomAlert must go online to report new camera locations.

One of the most comprehensive databases of speed camera locations in the Washington region can be found on StopBigBrotherMd.org, a website that tracks speed camera policy in Maryland. The website provides a map of more than 600 camera locations using information from area police departments and local drivers. Each pin on the map represents a

speed camera location or proposed location, and many pins provide additional information about the cameras, including nearby speed limits.

Information on speed camera locations can also be found on the websites of several police departments, including the Metropolitan Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Prince George's County Police Department. - Hayley Peterson

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