Speed, Radar Detectors And Safety

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					                                                                                                         Spring 2001 Issue


Speed, Radar Detectors And Safety
New Australian Survey Validates Concept Behind SWS
     Before there was a Safety Warning         firm of Yankelovich Clancy Shulman to       detector owners by telephone, fax and
System® (SWS®), there was drone                learn about drivers’ experiences with       e-mail. The first 200 responses were
radar—unmanned radar transmitters              radar detectors and their safety records    then analyzed.
placed in construction zones as a              both with and without the devices. The           One of the most surprising findings
reminder for drivers to check their            bottom line: Detector users, as a group,    was that while just over half of the
speed and pay attention. And before            appeared to be safer-than-average           respondents said the average speed they
there was drone radar, police officers         drivers. RADAR went on to lay the           drive did not change after fitting a radar
found they could accomplish the same           groundwork for the Safety Warning           detector, 41 percent responded that they
thing by leaving their radar units             System, based on the idea that a            drove slower. Most who reported that
switched on while parked at an accident        technology closely related to the radar     they did drive faster than the posted
scene or work area. And before that was        detector could be used to improve           speed indicated they did so in rural areas
the belief—sometimes unpopular—that            traffic safety.                             and that they stayed with the flow of
radar detectors did not cause motorists             In Australia they are still fighting   traffic. (Research has shown that those
to drive dangerously.                          the battle to keep radar detectors legal.   who drive significantly faster or slower
     From the late 1970s to the early          A group similar to RADAR, known as          than the average speed of traffic are
‘90s, proposals to ban radar detectors         the      Australian    Drivers     Rights   more likely to be involved in an
were put forward in at least 30 states         Association, recently conducted a survey    accident.)
and the federal government. A now-             of its own. The findings bolster the             Almost 70 percent of respondents
inactive national organization of              1987 Yankelovich study and make it          said they were more aware of
detector       manufacturers,     vendors,     even more apparent that banning             enforcement while using a radar
owners        and      motorists’    rights    detectors would do nothing to help          detector. (Research has found that the
advocates—the Radio Association                make Australia’s roads safer. If            more visible traffic enforcement is, the
Defending Airwave Rights, Inc. or              anything, a ban—which would include         more effective it is.) More importantly,
RADAR—successfully defeated the vast           SWS-enhanced models—could prove a           86 percent said they were more aware of
majority of these initiatives by arguing       setback to improving safety as the          their speed, 71 percent were more aware
that, first, police radar frequently makes     Safety Warning System gains a foothold.     of speed limits and 82 percent paid
mistakes or is misused and drivers                                                         closer attention to driving conditions. A
deserve to be able to protect                  The ADRA Study                              detector helped two-thirds combat
themselves, and, second, there is no               Facing a potential ban of radar         fatigue, and close to three-fourths said
evidence that radar detectors pose a           detectors in West Australia and realizing   they believed they were safer drivers
threat to safety or enforcement.               there was little hard evidence on either    with their detector than without.
     Relative to the second argument,          side of the debate for or against the            Only 4 percent said they had been
RADAR in 1987 commissioned a                   devices, the ADRA in February 2000          involved in an accident while using a
survey by the highly respected polling         contacted 300 randomly selected             detector. Of those who had an accident,
                                                                                                              (Continued on page 2)

                                              SAFETY WARNING SYSTEM, L.C.
Phone: (941) 473-1555       .   E-Mail: info@safetyradar.com       .   Website: www.safetyradar.com       .   Fax: (941) 475-4826
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“Speed, Radar Detectors And Safety”        were calculated it was found that                Why? For starters, both studies
(Continued from Page 1)                    detector users drove an average of          show that radar detector users are as
it was almost evenly divided whether       233,900 miles between accidents, while      safe as, if not safer than, other drivers.
excessive speed was a factor, and 71       the other drivers traveled 174,600 miles.   Also, the Australian survey in particular
percent said they were not judged at       In other words, detector users had 23       demonstrates that radar detector users
fault in the incident.                     percent fewer accidents on a per-mile-      have a healthy respect for enforcement
     Ninety-two      percent    of   the   driven basis—a more accurate measure        and the knowledge that a detector won’t
Australian drivers said their detectors    of exposure and a very significant          protect them from a well-deserved
did not allow them to speed without        difference.                                 ticket.
regard for the law. In fact, 45 percent         As another indicator of safety, the         The Australian Drivers Rights
reported they had received speeding        radar detector users were more likely to    Association study highlights what we
tickets while using a detector.            use their seatbelts—69 percent for          said at the beginning of this article:
     More than 60 percent reported their   detector users versus 57 percent for        Radar detectors encourage drivers to
annual mileage at 20,000-40,000            nonusers on trips of 10 miles or less,      pay closer attention to what is going on
kilometers (about 12,500-25,000 miles).    and 81 percent versus 69 percent on         around them. That’s what the Safety
Ninety-three percent of the respondents    longer trips. (Remember, this came at a     Warning System is all about too, except
were male, and 37 percent fell into the    time when seatbelt use was much lower       that SWS gives drivers specific
age range of 26-35 years.                  than today, and legislators were just       information about what they should be
                                           beginning to pass mandatory-use laws.)      watching out for—a stopped school
The Yankelovich Study                           American radar detector users also     bus, an emergency vehicle, an active
    The 1987 study by Yankelovich          tended to be male (89 percent) and          railroad crossing. And don’t forget that
Clancy Shulman differed in several         similar in age to the Australians (29       many millions of drivers still use
ways. First, it used a larger sample—      percent ages 25-34 and 25 percent ages      conventional radar detectors, which give
1,000 respondents—who were chosen          35-44). Interestingly, the Yankelovich      a rudimentary (but still useful) warning
nationwide at random from among both       study found that detector users were        when encountering an SWS transmitter.
those who did and did not use radar        better educated, had higher family               The beauty of the Safety Warning
detectors. Additionally, a variety of      incomes and were employed in                System is the fact that many motorists
other questions were asked so that it      professional, business and white collar     already have invested in their half of the
was not apparent that the poll was         jobs when compared against nonusers.        SWS equation—the receiver. Stand-
“about” radar detectors. However,                                                      alone SWS receivers may be in the
where the questions were similar, the      What’s It All Mean?                         pipeline soon, but in the meantime it is
findings of the American and Australian         The Australian survey asked other      SWS-enhanced radar detectors that are
studies support one another.               questions that we won’t address here,       carrying the load, and millions of drivers
    For instance, detector users           relating to enforcement and drivers’        are signaling their support of the Safety
reported driving an average of 24,200      rights. Since speed limits were increased   Warning System concept by purchasing
miles per year, while nonusers drove       to more appropriate levels in recent        these devices. Banning radar detectors
12,200 miles. Nine percent of the          years, radar detector bans have             anywhere in the world will hurt the
detector users reported having been        decreased as an issue in the United         distribution and effectiveness of this
involved in an accident the previous       States. Still, the results of both polls    important, highly affordable Intelligent
year, compared to 7 percent for            sound a cautionary note against             Transportation System. !
nonusers. However, when accident rates     prohibiting these devices.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SWS Becomes Part Of Florida’s New Motorist Awareness
System (MAS)
    The Florida Department of                  Work zone fatalities are a persistent   significantly more road work on tap
Transportation has placed the Safety       problem across the nation. In 1999,         over the next two years, the problem is
Warning System on the agency’s list of     there were 868 such deaths, up from         not likely to improve on its own.
approved traffic control products,         772 in 1998. Florida recorded 30 work            Research shows that drivers do not
paving the way for inclusion of the SWS    zone fatalities in 1999. (Texas and         slow down sufficiently in response to
as an integral part of a new project       California led the nation with 132 and      static speed control measures alone
aimed at improving safety in work          112     deaths,   respectively.)    With                       (Continued on page 3)
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…Motorist Awareness System (MAS)           to expect ahead. Radar speed display              Even though the Safety Warning
(Continued from page 2)                    trailers show the speeds of approaching      System messages and warnings can be
(signs and flashing lights). Law           vehicles while showing what the speed        received only by drivers using SWS-
enforcement is effective at reducing       limit is for the work area.                  enhanced or conventional radar
speeds, but it can become a drain on            Approaching drivers can be              detectors, other drivers should notice
police manpower for long-term projects     informed of lane closures, reasons for       the detector-equipped vehicles slowing
and isn’t always practical on multi-lane   delays, advance warning of day or night      and pay closer attention to the signs and
highways. Florida’s Motorist Awareness     work zones, that fines will be doubled in    radio messages.
System (MAS) mixes high-tech               active work areas, special messages for           The Florida DOT’s March 31
messaging devices with traditional signs   large trucks, standard safety warnings       approval of the Safety Warning System
and law enforcement to more effectively    and special weather alerts generated by      means it can be used not only in
slow traffic in areas where road           the National Weather Service. Messages       conjunction with MAS installations, but
construction and maintenance is taking     can be changed and the system can be         also in any location where SWS
place.                                     switched on or off remotely by               messages would be appropriate to help
     The MAS uses variable message         telephone. The MAS is intended to be         improve safety. The Safety Warning
signs tied into Safety Warning System      shut down when no work is taking place       System can deliver more than 60
transmitters to alert drivers as they      in the zone.                                 messages in five categories—highway
approach active work zones. The                 Drivers going through a MAS zone        construction or maintenance, highway
message delivered by the signs and SWS     also will see the usual complement of        hazard zone advisory, weather related
transmitters can be changed as             warning signs. Police officers will patrol   hazards,       travel       information/
necessary. Low-power AM radio              the zones intermittently to reinforce the    convenience and fast/slow-moving
transmitters, one of the most important    concept that speed limits are to be          vehicles. The messages cover everything
parts of the system, tell motorists what   obeyed.                                      from detours to poor road surfaces and
                                                                                        tollbooth warnings to advisories about
                                                                                        fog or ice. !

                                                 We’re on the Web!

                                    Safety Warning System® Participants
            SWS Receiver Licensees:
            •   BG Tech America, Inc., Fort Lee, NJ – Phone: (201) 363-0550
            •   BEL-Tronics, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – Phone: (905) 828-1002
            •   Escort, Inc. (Owner/Licensee), West Chester, OH – Phone: (513) 870-8500
            •   SK Global America, Inc., New York, NY – Phone: (212) 906-8254
            •   Uniden America Corporation (Owner/Licensee), Fort Worth, TX – Phone: (817) 858-3300
            •   The Whistler Group (Owner/Licensee), Chelmsford, MA – Phone: (978) 244-1400

            SWS Transmitter Licensees:
            •   Innovative Technology of America, Champaign, IL – Phone: (217) 351-8805
            •   MPH Industries, Inc., Owensboro, KY – Phone: (270) 685-6545

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