D.C. police chief doesn't want you to use iPhone Apps to detect traffic cameras


This is a few days old, so apologies in advance for that. Anyway, the Washington D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier, has chided people who use radar-detecting technology, including iPhone applications, for their “cowardly tactic.” With apps such as EyeWiki, people are able to flag known locations of traffic cameras using GPS. Then, as you approach a flagged camera, the app rings out, “Hey, slow down! There’s a traffic camera nearby.” Police say using such technology could endanger lives, but that doesn’t quite make sense.

The argument is that by using radar-detecting technology, which is illegal in D.C. and Virginia (so this whole post is moot, but whatever), you could be putting lives in danger. So argues the police. Keep in mind that traffic cameras and whatnot generated nearly $1 billion from 2005 to 2008. If everyone is driving around with technology that defeats said cameras, the police will have quite a hole in the budget.

But the idea that using the tech, in and of itself, puts people’s lives in danger is hard to believe. The cameras serve as a deterrent: drive the speed limit or be prepared to whip out your checkbook. So you drive the speed limit, which, I would imagine, lowers traffic-related fatalities. But let’s say you have an App that marks the location of cameras. You’re still going to slow down near the traffic camera, it’s just that the police won’t get any of your money that way.

Unless the police is trying to argue that people will drive reckless all over the place except when near a traffic camera. That, I guess, could be valid. In that case, people are still driving unsafely, except when they know they’re approaching a camera, but now the police has less money to fight crime.

Solution: let’s ban cars.