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New Waze Feature Helps Drivers Avoid Speeding Tickets

Highway to downtown MinneapolisPhotograph by Henryk Sadura — Getty Images/Moment Open

Google’s Waze navigation app has introduced a new feature to help drivers avoid speeding—and the tickets that often follow.

Waze, which uses both GPS navigation as well as information users submit about road accidents and closures, started rolling out speed alerts on Tuesday that warn users if they’re driving too fast. It was created to help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas where the speed limit may be unposted or changes seasonally, according to Waze.

The feature is now available in 18 countries including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Uruguay. The U.S. was notably absent from the list.

Eventually, speed alerts will be available globally, the company said in a blog post without providing a specific timeline.

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Waze already warns people about where police officers—or other hazards—are stationed along roads and highways based information provided by other users. The new speeding alerts is aimed at eliminate the problem altogether.

Drivers who exceed the speed limit will get a visual alert on their phone screen when the Waze app is enabled. The alert remains until the driver’s speed drops below the limit. Users can customize the alert to appear either when the speed limit is reached, or when the speed exceeds the limit by 5%, 10%, or 15%. Users can also choose an audio warning.

Waze doesn’t explain how it determines the driver has exceeded the speed limit. One way would be to tap into GPS data to determine how fast the driver is traveling and then compare it to the speed of other users.

Uber’s data could solve Boston’s traffic problem:

Speeding alerts aren’t new in the world of navigation apps. Garmin, Here, and Magellan all warn drivers if they’re speeding. The notable exception is Google’s popular navigation app Maps (GOOG).