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Senators Asking for Ban on Police DUI Checkpoint Phone Apps

March 23, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Four Democratic senators want to short-circuit software applications that allow drivers to identify police drunken-driving checkpoints.

In a letter Tuesday, the senators asked Apple, Google and BlackBerry to either disable or quit selling downloadable applications that allow iPhone and iPad, BlackBerry and Android operating systems to identify locations of local police DUI crackdowns.

“We know that your companies share our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving, and we therefore would ask you to remove these applications from your store unless they are altered to remove the DUI/DWI checkpoint functionality,” wrote Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, Charles Schumer of New York, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Tom Udall of New Mexico.

USA TODAY reported Monday that with the spread of traffic cameras and police agencies pumping up revenue from traffic citations, drivers are relying on devices and applications that alert them to such law enforcement tools as speed and red-light cameras, speed traps, school zones and DUI checkpoints.

“One application contains a database of DUI checkpoints updated in real-time. Another application, with more than 10 million users, also allows users to alert each other to DUI checkpoints in real time,” the senators wrote.

“We appreciate the technology that has allowed millions of Americans to have information at their fingertips, but giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern,” they wrote. “We hope that you will give our request to make these applications unavailable immediate consideration.”

Costs of the apps vary. Some are free. One offers subscriptions that range from $9.99 a month to $99.99 for a lifetime subscription.

The costs for camera violations also vary.

Red-light camera violations cost $100 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, $124 in Longview, Wash., and $158 in Juno Beach, Fla. Speed camera citations in Cedar Rapids range from $70-$500.

Apple, Google and Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry devices, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The apps in question signal an alert when your are near a designated check point. It will be difficult to get rid of these apps entirely. Trying to tame the inter net. I agree most drunks would keep on driving regardless.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    More foolish political garbage... anything to get their names in the papers as a "caring" person. What do we care if there's an app? Government seriously needs to stop sticking its nose into every aspect of society.

  • 063_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad I don't drink, much less drink and drive. If they are drunk and checking their phone at the same time, chances are they won't make it to the checkpoint.

  • 580270_10150746332203468_504183467_9096624_481960616_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    i agree with Darsavmo...

  • Thinker_max50


    over 4 years ago


    If a person is sober enough to check his phone, I-Pad, etc. he is probably sober enough to drive. Why can't they focus on the big issues that our Nation is facing?

  • Imag0190_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Radio and TV Stations know when we are doing DUI Checkpoints at least 48 hours before we do one.

  • Me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I don't think it really matters. In Ohio, we have to announce it on the radio stations, put up big flashing signs that say, "Sobriety Check Point," and give them a detour if they wish to take it. The dummies still drive right into the check points.

  • 687-45b_5270


    over 4 years ago


    In CT you cannot use your phone and drive so if someone is drinking and using this app and end up at a checkpoint, they are dumb.
    Why don't they just get an app where the police let you know when they are coming with an arrest warrant?

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Sound like a good plan, but I am doubtful the companies will give up the profits.

  • Ocp-me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Make up your mind Senators... transparent government or secrecy? I'm confused as to which one you want now?

    Either way, I have to question if an individual is intoxicated or impaired if said individual is capable of using these phone applications while driving and still successfully circumnavigates the checkpoints. I know I can't, and I don't even drink and drive.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Good idea but I can't really see these companies complying. I think the check points should be moved periodically to be able catch people using such apps off there toes. Better yet local law enforcement officers get a hold of the app themselves and change where the dwi check points are done therefore people will avoid those places and walk straight into the lions den! It's only fair!

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