Escort Live Social Network Protects You From Speed Traps
Social networks are everywhere, but here's one that's actually kind of useful: Escort Live, a "social network for the road" that aims to protect drivers from speeding tickets.
Escort Inc. makes a variety of different devices for drivers, including radar detectors for detecting police lasers (which are, according to the company, totally legal in 49 states, just not in Virginia and Washington D.C.). Escort Live consists of a smartphone app that connects to a driver's Escort or Beltronics radar-detection device using the company’s SmartCord device.
Here's how it works: You're driving down the road and your Escort radar detector (which costs about $540) picks up a police laser signal. You slow down, naturally, so as not to get caught. Your radar detector then sends this message to the SmartCord, which plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and pairs with your Android or iOS device. A message pops up on your smartphone--do you want to report this speed trap, or not? The notification is pretty big so your eyes don't have to wander too far off the road to press one of the options.
If you do decide to report the trap any other Escort Live members who pass by will be notified that they're approaching a speed trap even before their radar detector picks up on the cop's laser gun. Escort Live crowd-sources speed traps and lets people quickly and easily share information on police positions with everyone else on the network.
The concept is similar to apps like Trapster, which lets people report speed traps, accidents, and road hazards in real time using their phones, but Escort Live simplifies the process. Because it's connected to an actual radar detector, users can easily report speed traps without ever slowing down. Trapster is a little more difficult because you have to input a bunch of information into your phone manually, instead of just pressing a button and having it be done with.
I know what you're thinking--don't police enforce speed limits for safety purposes? Escort says yes and no--an Escort representative tells me that speeding tickets are most often given in "speed trap" zones, such as one that's near her house. According to the representative, there's a street near her house that goes from 55MPH to 35MPH to 45MPH, and it's really just a speed trap--not a place where people are actually speeding with crazy lead feet.
However, with Escort Live she is able to mark this area as a speed trap so that her car is not only able to warn her when she approaches it, but also others who might not be aware of the quick speed limit changes.
Escort sells the SmartCord with an Escort Live subscription (through the end of 2012) for an introductory price of $80. This doesn't include the radar detector, which will run you upwards of $500.
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