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 (buyradardetectors.com) 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

7 comments:

jwardell said...

Thanks for the videos!
The first illustrates a big issue IMO of the Whistler: Its voice alerts before it makes an alert tone. You are much less likely to react, or not even hear, the voice. Bel has this done right by issuing the appropriate beep first, then vice, then back to beep.

I was just down in philly a few weeks ago and passed through that intersection several times and never noticed the cameras. I've always considered cameras a southern thing, so it's a bit scary seeing them up north. Did they have signage to make drivers aware of their function, or are they there solely for revenue?

Veil Guy said...

jwardell,

I am still adding content to today's blog posting, so be sure to check back.

With respect to the Whistler Pro-78, I may actually prefer their approach, because when I hear "Laser" as the first tone, I know to slow down immediately. If it were the tone first, I am not sure I am familiar enough with Whistler's tones to make the connection to the severity of the threat.

After living with it for more time, I may arrive at your line of thinking, though. For now, I am just glad the Whistler Pro-78 is very good at spotting laser. So many radar detectors that are out there, tend, IMO, to skimp on this feature.

I know without a product like VEIL, their utility alone is limited, but with it, the alerting advantages of one [over another] will very likely mean the difference between a speeding ticket and not.

About the red light cameras in Philadelpha, I have driven the boulevard a lot over the course of the last year and I never noticed them too. While I did manage to catch a one sign indicating their usage, the way they are positioned is very stealth, IMO. You really have to know what you are looking for, which is why I posted the PICs and videos, to help people begin to be aware of these disturbing new automated systems.

Unfortunately, it appears that "Big Brother" is slowly making his advances in our society. Orwell may have missed the mark by about 25-30 years...

I am going to pursue this stuff more closely—even though it has nothing to directly do with VEIL and police laser—it's important that we all put this technology on our radar screens!

Steve said...

Well Bob I think by you spending your 4th of July looking for traps like a hunter looks for his prey you have sealed your place in this industry as THE one and only nutcase. NO ONE is as hardcore as you and you have monopolized the nutcase arena. You never have to worry about anyone driving 2,000+ miles just to look for speedtraps. As always when you put your mind into something (Veil is a great example) you do not half ass it. You put your heart and soul into it and this is what is going to make you the premier tester over others. i love your work Bob. Best Blog on the net!

Veil Guy said...

Steve,

Thanks, dude.

But, who do you think you are kidding? You're pretty hard-core, yourself! :)

BTW, I have to run off now to contest a PARKING TICKET in our fine city! Hope I don't get a speeding ticket along the way, 'cause I'm running late. ;)

Veil Guy

Veil Guy said...

wardell,

Upon further reflection, your point about hearing the voice alert over the sound of say a radio is well taken.

You are right, every fraction of second, especially with police laser, is crucial.

Veil Guy said...

jwardell,

I managed to speak to the engineering team of Whistler Group today about your keen observation and, I am pleased to report, they will be taking it under advisement.

As Steve has rightly stated, their customer service is not to be believed!

Way to go!

snic said...

Nice post-
How important is rear protection when it comes to laser??
Also
As you test each of the radar detectors - are you going to compare all to see how they stack upaginst each other?? ie radar det shootout?
THanks!!