Has anyone here tried this?MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) -
I just downloaded The Phantom Alert app
for the iPhone. It's marketing slogan is, "see them before they see you," referring to cops running a speed trap. Well, I took it out on the road in central Brevard County for a test drive.
"Alert, red light camera," said the woman's voice coming from my smart-phone. Sure enough, I was approaching the intersection of 520 and A1A, And there is a red light camera here. The app gets an A for our red light test.
"Possible speed trap ahead. Reduce speed," she bellowed once again. Sure enough, there were deputies all over the 528 and Banana River Boulevard overpass. So I pulled over to confront our law enforcement men in green.
"That black dot, what does it say?" I asked the deputy with Brevard County's motor unit. "Speed trap," he responded flatly. I tell him, "You know what I say deputy? Busted." He laughed, and then told me how wrong it was, and as it turns out, he was right. Three deputies were directing traffic due to the construction on the overpass at 528 and Courtenay.
This required a call to Phantom ALERT CEO Joe Scott, and my first question to him was, "Why the inaccuracy?" He answered my question, with a question, "Well wouldn't it be nice to get the alert he was there and you come around the bend and see him there regardless of whether he was doing enforcement or directing traffic?"
Good point. So back to our motor deputies, who do run speed traps on county roads, even though they weren't doing it on this particular afternoon. "What do you recommend I do with this app?" I queried him. "I recommend you get rid of it," quipped the deputy.
Phantom Alert's top boss wasn't surprised by that answer. "If the cities are putting up all these speed traps red light cameras for revenue, of course they are going to hate us" said Scott.
I showed my new app to Bob Dennis, who was visiting Cocoa Beach from Maryland. He liked it a lot, until I told him there was a $9.99 monthly subscription fee. "I don't think I'll like it," he said after quickly changing his mind.
One thing about apps like these is they are only as accurate as the users who input the data into it. The CEO of Phantom alert says they are fast approaching 500,000 users, but in Florida there are just 25,000.
We'll have to wait and see if it catches on with more users.