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GPS Angel Helps Drivers Avoid Red Light Camera Tickets

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The Parking Ticket Geek

The Geek is an idiot, who gets a lot of parking tickets, and knows how to fight back.

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Protect yourself.

When you drive in Chicago, America's red light camera capital, protection is what you need to do to insure you don't get bitch slapped with a $100 red light camera ticket.

That's the idea behind a niche category of electronic devices which alert drivers to red light camera intersections as they drive.

These relatively inexpensive devices utilize GPS and specialty point of interest (POI) databases to give drivers a heads up when RLC intersections are approaching, so you can slow down safely and stop before the light changes.

One of these devices is the GPS Angel.

Introduced to the U.S.  in 2009, the Angel was originally rolled out a few years ago in Europe where speed cameras have infested their continent with nearly five times more enforcement cameras than in the entire U.S.

"We're certainly not advocating running red lights," says Adam Fingerman, U.S. Marketing Director for GPS Angel. "The cameras exist at dangerous intersections. GPS Angel gives you a heightened state of awareness and warns you when you come to one of these dangerous intersection."

Fingerman kindly sent The Expired Meter a unit to test drive on the mean streets of Chicago, and we happily put the GPS Angel through its paces.

The first important order of business for setting up your unit is to download the GPS Angel Manager application via the web. This software allows you to periodically update your unit with the number of RLC intersections locally and nationwide to keep you protected everywhere  you drive.

The software, when run, steps you through the process of updating your unit. Unlike some other similar devices, there's no cost or subscription fee for drivers to update their unit.

Fingerman suggest updating your unit on a regular basis as the company updates their database weekly saying, "It's a great database. The strength of the product is the database."

Once we uploaded the company's current database to the GPS Angel unit, we excitedly plugged it into the car lighter and slapped it on top of our dashboard. After a few minutes for the unit to sync up with the GPS satellites whizzing over our heads in geosynchronous orbit far above the earth, the GPS Angel is ready to go.

Driving along, it wasn't but a few moments before the unit first chirped it's first warning, red lights flashing as if to say "Be careful! Evil red light camera ahead! Make sure you stop in time!"

When driving, the unit is silent while its' readout lights are green. When we came to an RLC intersection, the lights would turn red begin flashing. If we were exceeding the speed limit approaching the intersection, the device would trill a loud agitated alarm. If we were at, or below the speed limit, the alarm would chirp three times, followed by flashing lights.

When past the intersection, the unit would beep once and then return to green lights.

While speed cameras are not prevalent in Illinois, they are in other parts of the country. If the location was a speed camera, the lights would flash yellow instead of red.

Impressively, after a week of driving around Chicago, time after time, the GPS Angel picked up on every RLC intersection we came across.


Two buttons on the top also give drivers some additional options.

The left button, when pressed can set a "personal location alert," like a school or park to remind you to slow down and drive more carefully. You can set up to 200 of these locations.

The right button is an "overspeed warning". When pressed the unit determines your current speed and then warns you if you exceed that set speed.

Trying hard to be fair minded and critical, we found only a few drawbacks to the unit.

The first is, we came across a few false positives. In other words, we were alerted to red light camera locations that did not exist. Being pretty darn well versed in where most of the RLC locations on the north side of Chicago are located, I thought a relatively new location got by me somehow.

But, after going back and checking the two locations in question in person and then compared the GPS Angel database against the city's RLC list. In these two cases, the locations were incorrect.

However, while it was a little annoying, it doesn't bug me too much. I'm less concerned about a false positive than I am about the unit missing a camera that does exist. That would be really bad.

"Missing a camera location entirely is much worse than a false positive," admitted Fingerman.  "We recognize it happens. But the strength of he product is the database. That's why we like the idea of the free updates. Customers benefit at no additional charge."

To the company's credit, after I e-mailed the discrepancy to the company, GPS Angel customer service followed up within 24 hours and amended their database for the weekly update.

The same goes for missing locations. Submit that location to the company and it will end up in the database.

The other drawback I found was driving along the Kennedy Expressway, despite the fact there are no traffic lights on an expressway, the unit would periodically go off when it came close to RLC intersections below.

With prices starting at under $99, less then the price of a red light ticket, it's easy to see why a device like GPS Angel makes smart fiscal sense. The unit pays for itself if  a motorist saves himself from just one RLC ticket.

"It's an easy to use, single purpose, affordable product," says Fingerman. "I think it's very affordable. It has a lower cost than any other product (on the market). And the database is certainly affordable because it's free. I think people like that."

For motorists who spend much of their time driving in or around Chicago, the GPS Angel seems well worth the investment to make you drive more carefully and avoid expensive red light camera tickets.

For more information on GPS Angel or a list of retailers, check out the company's website.

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3 Comments

Michael Lehet said:

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I know a better way to protect yourself against getting a red light ticket.....pay attention to what you're doing and don't run red lights...problem solved!

Barnet said:

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Chicago's traffic signal timing does not allow for reaction time, trucks or common sense. I'm not for drivers violating red lights, but to trap them is more of an egregious crime than the original civil violation. CDOT refuses to change their short-changing habits in spite of a mountain on independent studies and real life experience. Georgia’s law of adding one second of yellow time to each traffic signal at a camera-equipped intersection reduced violations by 70 percent, crashes by 60 percent. The camera companies started removing their equipment. I guess safety pays for drivers, but not scamera companies.

Eric Spring said:

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This device is great and has saved me from hundreds of dollars in red light camera tickets. Learn more about how it works here and how to get one in your car http://www.defeatredlightcameras.com/gps-angel/

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