Before the dew was dry on the dawn of a new century, the speed cameras came.
At first, the insidious rise of these unfeeling machines was barely perceptible.
They were few and far between, They blended in with lampposts.
But streetwise D.C. natives knew where the cameras lurked.
They hissed warnings at one another.
“Don’t you dare blow through a yellow light on Connecticut Ave. north of Chevy Chase Circle!”
“Slow your roll at the intersection of New York Ave. and Bladensburg Rd.!”
Then, without warning — like bedbugs or bacteria — speed cameras were everywhere.
In the first eight months of the last fiscal year, D.C.’s ten most profitable cameras generated $29.5 million.
Today, there is one three blocks from the president’s house.
Now there is a new weapon in the war against the speed camera. That weapon:
The new Hyundai Genesis.
“It knows there is a speed camera there, it knows where the speed camera is and it will adopt the correct speed,” said Hyundai spokesman Guido Schenken at a preview event, according to drive.com.au.
More: “It will beep 800 meters before a camera and show the legal speed, and it will beep at you if your speed is over that,” Schenken said.
Eight hundred meters? That’s 2624.67 feet — more than enough runway to go from 50 mph to 25 mph and avoid a $100 ticket.
“This is a serious product,” said Edward Lee, former Hyundai Australia chief executive and now head of international sales, drive.com.au reported.
The version of the car that will be available for sale in the United States doesn’t have the anti-speed-camera feature.
“There is no plan to introduce a Genesis, or any other model with a speed camera detection feature in the U.S.,” said Bill Thomas, the general manager of public relations for Hyundai stateside, wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post.
Well — why not?
Thomas wouldn’t say.
According to Schenken — who denied rumors that the model would be available in Australia — “We believe this feature is only available for Korea domestic market.”
E-mails sent to company representatives in South Korea seeking confirmation were not returned. The Web site caradvice.com.au, which reviewed the car on a test drive in Seoul, gave the feature a largely positive review while pointing out that “there are basically no mobile speed cameras in South Korea.”
Other GPS products alert to the presence of speed and red-light cameras — but they don’t slow down for you.
Why would Hyundai develop this life-changing technology, but delay its release?
We don’t know.
Perhaps there are legal problems: The use of radar detectors is regulated in a number of states and the District of Columbia.
All D.C. drivers can do is wait for deliverance.
In the meantime: Here is a novel legal strategy for getting out of speed camera tickets courtesy virginiacopblock.org.