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The Philosophy of the Radar Detector

944 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Boris
I'm trying to decide if I should buy a radar detector and wanted to share some of the thoughts that I've had while evaluating this decision.


It's been 10 years since I've been stopped for speeding. I was 14 then. I was intentionally driving at an unreasonable speed. I paid the fines and slowed down. I now drive at safe and reasonable speeds 99% of the time with the occasional hard acceleration or fast corner.

I've considered buying a radar detector in the past but always came to the conclusion that a detector is more likely to condition me to speed 15mph or so above the limit and negate any "speed trap avoidance" benefit gained by getting me pulled over outside of speed traps more often (because I'd be breaking the law constantly instead of accidentally once in a while).

The event that triggered the radar detector thoughts:

I'm re-considering this position because of a recent ticket. I was driving my wife's well-maintained Camry riding on Dunlop SP Sport A2's. My wife was in the car since we car pool. It was the day of our 2 year wedding anniversary (a Monday morning at 7:30am). I was on a boulevard that does not have any speed limit signs but does have a good road surface and excellent visibility. I was going 40mph, saw several cruisers ahead, covered the brake pedal but didn't slow suddenly partially because I did a quick analysis of the conditions in my head and determined that the road I'm on is probably zoned 35mph and they won't bother those that they clocked at 5mph over (either way I wouldn't risk being rear-ended by one of the cars that was following close behind me). Note that I just moved across town so this is a route that I've driven probably 10 times before. They did stop me and ticketed me. The officer commented that I shouldn't feel bad because EVERYONE that came down the road was speeding and was being stopped.

I do realize that I was speeding and should be penalized. I'm hoping to figure out a way to pay only the city and not the insurance company though. I plan to follow up with the traffic department since the residents had complained to the police about speeders on that road. I think a cheaper and more permanent solution to stop drivers like myself from speeding there would be to post the speed limit. I (and MANY other commuters) follow that stretch of road for about ten blocks and the speed limit is not posted along that stretch. Anywho, that's neither here nor there.

The disturbing thought:

This "speed control operation" did slow me down on that stretch of road. But at what cost? I'm now considering buying a radar detector which would most likely distract me from my driving and tempt/condition me to drive faster all of the time.

There are so many other ways to change people's driving behavior (speed limit signs(!?), radar reminder devices that display the speed limit and your speed) that do work to slow down traffic in problem areas and don't have a large impact on our lives like these ticketing operations do (less money in my family's budget due to increased insurance costs, less time with family due to 8 hour STOP course if I choose that route, more time wasted bitching about tickets at ClubB5....).

The Conclusion:

I've decided that I'm going to seriously consider buying the V1 if as a result of this citation I end up with a moving violation on my record. If the DA works with me maybe it'll turn into a faulty equipment ticket or something. The reasoning here is that I don't want to risk having multiple tickets on my record (my route to work runs through several bad speed trap areas). Getting another ticket or two seems to be a greater risk than the possible conditioning effect of the detector.

Thanks for listening. You may commence the "quit yer bitchin and own up" and "slow down before you run over a kid" comments now. Please tell your stories of how owning (or not owning) a radar detector affected your driving with regards to safety and compliance with the law. Was it effective at lowering the total number of tickets you received?
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What? :shock: Were you really 14 when you got your first speeding ticket? Do they give out licences to 14 year olds in Nebraska? That's nuts.

You should get a detector anyway.
hoypinoy1234 said:
What? :shock: Were you really 14 when you got your first speeding ticket? Do they give out licences to 14 year olds in Nebraska? That's nuts.
That was in Kansas. You used to be able to get a restricted license there at 14 to allow you to drive to school and work. I was violating that restriction when I was ticketed.
The system has a lot of loopholes, having a radar detector increases your chances of being part of one.

Radar detectors could be illegal, they're illegal in Canada, excercies your rights!
Wait...a little more info, please!!

What was the actual speed limit in that area? 35, like you said? You were going an indicated 40 mph? Based on some posts I've read here and personal experience with some of those construction zone radar thingies, I believe our speedos are conservative (by that I mean an indicated 40 is really something like 37 or 38 ). So they ticketed you for 3 miles over the speed limit? That's utter BS! WTF is wrong with those cops? I'd get a lawyer to fight this one (and I'm usually one of those people who says "slow down before you hit a kid"). Aren't they required to have the speed limit posted every so many feet or some such distance? I'd videotape the entire section you drove as evidence that it is not properly posted. Fight it.

What does the ticket actually say? How much over the limit and what was the limit?
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Your ticket should be very easy to fight. If the speed limit isn't posted anywhere on the stretch you drive on then how can you be expected to obey it? Also it didn't sound like you were driving too fast for the conditions either. I'd take a video camera and record the road, as you drive it and prove that there was no way for you to know the speed limit since it isn't posted.

Paul :thumbup:
Get the radar. It has saved me so many times already. I usually drive fast "at least 10 over" and always have so this really helps me out.

I don't think I drive faster because of having a detector in my car but more so because of the motor build which lights up my foot everytime I get into it. I know people with radars and they always drive the speed limit and slip sometimes having the radar as a safe gaurd.
Altair 4 said:
Wait...a little more info, please!!
I was going an indicated 40mph. The ticket says that I was in a 30mph zone. I haven't found a speed limit sign on that road at all yet but I haven't explored beyond the stretch in question.

As for being able to fight it - I've read the local law and it says that you should drive at a safe and reasonable speed AND that the speed limit is 25mph until you see a sign that says otherwise (anywhere inside the city limits). I think that you should be able to fight it this way but if all you go off of is the law books it doesn't look promising.
The sad truth is that speeding restrictions are cash cow for municipalities. I finally sprang out for V1 after being ticketed in a speed trap on I-25 highway within city limits of Centennial CO. Centennial has all of quarter mile of I-25 under their jurisdiction. When I went to court it was clearly visible that this was just a machinery for making a buck. It reminded me Kafka's The Trial. All so efficient, so smoothly running. Just follow this line, get convicted, pay your fine. If you cooperate we will plead your offense down to some insignificant non-moving violation, but do not try to argue the amount of fine. That is off limits! Keep your hands off of our loot or else!
The saddest thing was that all the people just followed the process like herd of sheep to the slaughterhouse. You hear under the nose complaining but they just decide to pay the fine and be GRATEFUL for the plea instead of voicing their objections regarding how the cops get the offenses and the ridiculousness of some of the traffic laws. So the system wins and all are happy. Or maybe not. Fucking quasi-communists acting under pretense of our COLLECTIVE SAFETY and feeling smug about it. BUT SIR, IT'S A LASER! LASER IS INVINCIBLE! WELL, I DID CLOCK YOU FROM MY CRUISER AS I WAS LEAVING TO PURSUE YOU! BUT LASER DON"T LIE! PAY UP! Bullshit!
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Its okay Boris, take a step back from the computer. :wink:
You know I look at fines as a kind of tax on speeding, but traps maintained for sole purpose of ticketing as many people as possible, and then feeling smug about it brings rage in me.

BTW steakthx32 you did not get my point. Then again you may not know about laser. :wink:
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