Mike Valentine
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radar detector questions answered


Safety Alert... aka "Safety Radar"

  What is Safety Warning System, and does Valentine One have it?
- G.B., Michigan
  Once upon a time, when radar detector makers were in one of their Bullet-List wars—that is to say, competing amongst themselves to see who could advertise the longest bullet list of features—they made a big issue of “safety radar.”  

safety warning systemThere were two competing formats, Safety Alert® and Safety Warning System™ (SWS). But the basics were the same; both depended upon transmitters in official vehicles—police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks—sending out various coded K-band signals that would be picked up by radar detectors. An SWS detector would have the ability to translate these signals into text or voice warnings. Radar detectors without the feature would respond to them as normal K-band alerts.

V1 never had such a feature. My view of it was always the same, “Show me the system.”

Here’s the problem. An expensive transmitter would be needed in those emergency vehicles. Would police and fire departments and ambulance companies ante up something over $1000 to buy a transmitter for each vehicle just to warn a few radar detector users when they were already warning all motorists in the vicinity with very effective sirens?

Two chances of that happening: slim and none.

But the makers of ordinary radar detectors flogged safety radar hard in their ad pages. Escort® and Passport® had their trademarked SafetyPilot™ Technology, complete with a cute little symbol showing a red car in a blue bull’s-eye. It was based on Safety Alert at first, then switched over to SWS.

safety radarBut now, you might say that Safety Pilot Technology has run off into the ditch. The Passport® 8500 X50—“The Expert’s Choice” according to its advertising—was born without any sort of “safety radar.” Why? One of the company’s spokesmen said. “We decided to stop incorporating that in our detectors because there just isn’t much of it out there.”

Right. That’s what I’ve always said. But they advertised SafetyPilot Technology for years, just as if it had real benefit. And it did—to the company. If you can make your old models obsolete, then loyal customers will feel they should buy the latest. We don’t do that. No V1 we’ve ever made is obsolete. Every one can be upgraded to today’s technology at a reasonable price (/upgrades).

V1 offers superior warning against radar and laser. No red herrings, no froufrou, and no cute little symbols to distract from the only reason to buy a detector in the first place.

One more fact: Some folks think those highway warning signs, usually on trailers, that set off radar detectors are Safety Radar. They aren’t. Instead, they are shams to get around the FCC prohibition on drone transmitters (the anti-speed forces love the idea of drones as a way of annoying radar detector users). There’s no encoded message here, just plain old radar. Still, after years of my competitors advertising Safety Alert and Safety Warning System, I guess I can’t blame folks for expecting to find it somewhere.

Escort® and Passport® are registered trademarks of Escort, Inc. SafetyPilot™ is a trademark of Escort, Inc. SWS™ is a trademark of SWSLC. Safety Alert® Traffic Warning System is a registered trademark of Cobra Electronics Corporation.