Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day 2007

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I hope you guys had a nice holiday, even though it fell on hump day.

I am going to give you guys a multiple choice question...let's see how well you know me.

What do you think I did today?

a) Spent the day relaxing by the pool with a drink (or two).
b) Spent the day with my wife and family watching the holiday parade.
c) Spent the day hanging out with family and friends and barbecued.
d) Spent the day testing radar detectors on one of the heaviest traffic enforcement days.

If you guessed either a, b, or c, you don't know me that well.

That's right boys and girls, answer d is the correct one...I used today to accomplish a host of different things.

Click on pictures to play video.

Again, thanks to Danny of Cricket Ventures ( for providing me a retail unit of the Beltronics Vector 955 (V995 for short) radar detector for comparison testing.

He was curious to know how I found the performance of Beltronics' "budget" radar detector as compared to the new Whistler Pro-78 and Whistler XTR-690 and wanted to know my take on this.

So I did just that, ran a performance comparison between the two detectors over a period of about 6-7 hours and about 300 plus miles—while being exposed to X, K, Ka, and Laser.

I'll have full review of the Beltronics V955 soon, but until then, suffice it to say that it is a very solid performer which appears to provide RX-65 Pro like performance, but with a reduced feature set. In other words, it is a top-performing radar detector that provides a very strong showing relative to the Whistler Pro-78 Whister XTR-690, and Cobra XRS-R7/XRS-9G radar detectors even though it is not as fully optioned as those other models.

In any event, the Bel Vector 995 makes a most welcomed addition to my windshield.

I had intended to drive to upstate New York, as per my usual route, but I found that I had my hands full in New Jersey on I-78. The State Troopers (as well as the local departments) were out in full-force today and police laser was the tool of choice. I've said this before: there is no doubt that the popularity of police laser is increasing.

There was a stretch of about one mile on I-78 where they were tag-teaming traffic with laser two to three at a time. I attempted to make many repeated passes but only managed to get laser about 30-40% of the time because they were picking them off that fast, quicker than it took for me to set-up to make my run and that was even after I had warned the approaching traffic with flashed headlights‐people were simply not paying attention to their surroundings (no situational awareness) and were paying a steep price, indeed. for they were in revenue producing mode today—kicking out an estimated 15-20 speeding citations every hour.

The interesting thing I got out of this experience was how used to VEIL I have become. You see, I have a loaner car for the week, in the wake of the tire/wheel/suspension damage sustained with my 540i in a PennDOT construction zone last week. I didn't manage to put VEIL on the 328xi prior to my drive and there was no laser jammer installed on it either.

Every time I got lasered today, even with the mighty Valentine 1, the laser warning would only last about a second—meaning they were getting my speed instantaneously. I have been so spoiled with VEIL, I have forgotten how lethal police laser really is to most motorists who do not know about [VEIL], don't use it, and don't even own a radar detector.

VIDEOs: What it's like to be target without VEIL.

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Host radar detector: Whistler Pro-78

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Host radar detectors: Beltronics Vector V955, Whistler Pro-78.
Note: both detectors were placed together just for this laser shot to give them the same field of view.

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Host radar detector: Valentine One 3.861

Video commentary: If you look closely, prior to us being targeted, you can see certain vehicles ahead hitting the brakes as they either visually identified the speed trap (after it was too late and they were already targeted or while they were being targeted with a radar detector that picked up the police laser shot.

In either case, you'll notice that these great radar detectors did NOT provide advanced warning to police laser. Which is why the use of a countermeasure like VEIL is so critical. With a radar shot at the distance we were following, we would have likely received advanced warning to the speed trap. With police laser, we don't have that luxury.

The last situation you want to be in is being pulled-over for speeding on the 4th of July holiday, especially if it's raining—which it was today. Again, why more drivers don't at least own a radar detector and know how to properly use it, remains a complete mystery to me.

ATS redlight camera RLC-300 systems at Roosevelt Boulevard Safety Corridor, Philadelphia, PA.
ATC RLC-300 red light camera
american traffic solutions AXSIS RLC-300

After I had my fill of police laser, I decided to mosey on down to the greater Philadelphia area to closely check out the automated red light camera systems currently being deployed along the Roosevelt Boulevard. I believe I counted six monitored intersections—for which I took notes.

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Monitored Intersection: Grant Ave & Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA.

My understanding, until today, was that there were only two such systems in use. I counted at least six. I also spent time measuring the transition timing of these monitored traffic lights at these intersections to see if any monkey business was evident. I will have more on these annoying systems in the near future.

In the meantime, wishing all of you a happy, healthy, safe, and ticket-free Independence Day holiday!

Veil Guy
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