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Surfing The Web To Dodge Cops

First, there was the CB radio.

Then, lead-footed motorists trying to avoid a speeding ticket used radar detectors and snazzy police scanners.

Now they can just take a spin on the Web.

The Atlanta-based Speedtrap Registry gives online visitors a heads-up on where traffic police and road hazards lurk for all 50 states and 40 countries.

The site, developed by 22-year-old computer engineer Andrew Warner, includes trap locations, average fine, type of car the police use, and the local scanner frequency.

"The entire town counts as a speed trap," reads an entry for the Massachusetts town of Dover. "They will pull you over for less than 5 mph over the limit at any location, even if you're riding a bicycle."

Dover Police Chief Joseph Griffin called that an exaggeration.

"We're not quite that zealous," he said, laughing. "But if somebody says, 'I better not speed in that town,' then someone else has done my job for me. That's wonderful."

While the Web page at www.speedtrap.com would seem to give wannabe speeders an edge in their efforts to elude police, other law-enforcement officials agreed with Griffin.

"The purpose of speed enforcement is to reduce car crashes and save lives," said Massachusetts State Police Capt. Robert Bird. "Whether you can get people to slow down by warning that police may be there or by catching them in the act, it accomplishes the same thing."

Warner, who says he has only one speeding ticket to his name, lets online visitors submit new traps, search for them by region or subscribe to a mailing list of recent updates.

"It started out mainly in the South, looking at entrapment cases," said Warner, who refuses to include sobriety checkpoints. "But it's evolved into a general driver's service. Everybody can relate."

On an average week, more than 100,000 people visit the site, some leaving remarkably specific warnings to their fellow road warriors.

"Lots of trees make you feel like you are on a remote country highway, so you are tempted to drive fast. DON'T," says an entry for Rothrock Road in Copley, Ohio.

"The state trooper drives a gold Ford Crown Vic," says a Connecticut entry. "You don't see him until it's too late ... I have seen him parked sideways using laser, so beware. He is very tricky."

Still, the cops may be the ones winning.

"Anywhere I go in Woodbridge, there seems to be a cop running radar. None of these roads are safe to speed on," says an entry from Woodbridge, Conn., a warning that would make any officer proud.

Written by Alexis Chiu

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