Buzzed is a program available in Apple's App Store that notifies users to DUI Checkpoints within a 100-mile radius of their current location via GPS. Fuzz Alert, Trapster , and Phantom Alert are other examples of apps that allow users to access real-time information about different police activity including locations of red light cameras and speed traps, in addition to the locations of DUI Checkpoints.
A partial text of the Senators' letter:
Dear Mr. Schmidt, Balsillie, Lazaridis and Forstall,
We write today with grave concern regarding the ease with which downloadable applications for Apple, Blackberry, and Android operating systems for smartphones allow customers to identify where local police officers have set up DUI checkpoints. With more than 10,000 Americans dying in drunk-driving crashes every year, providing access to applications that alert users to DUI checkpoints is harmful to public safety.
We know that your companies share our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving and we therefore would ask you to remove the applications from your store unless they are altered to remove the DUI/DWI checkpoint functionality.
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.
Police officers from across the country have voiced concern about these products, with one Police Captain saying, "If people are going to use those, what other purpose are they going to use them for except to drink and drive?" With a person dying every 50 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, this technology should not be promoted to your customers-in fact, it shouldn't even be available."
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. We hope that you will give our request to make these applications unavailable immediate consideration....
What is the next step? Banning apps that tell people where the best deals for Happy Hour are? Is this Big Brother versus common sense? Police are, by law, required to announce DUI Checkpoints in advance, so the public already is on notice. If these 'specialized' apps are in fact banned, there are a host of social networking apps that can relay the same information.
If you have had too much too drink and get behind the wheel you are rolling the dice; you may not be stopped at a DUI Checkpoint but there are specially trained DUI Enforcement Officers who patrol at night who are looking for any reason to pull you over, with the expectation that the traffic stop may turn into a DUI Arrest. That is their job. It is not illegal to have a drink and get behind the wheel, but it is against the law to Drive While Intoxicated, or to Drive Under the Influence to the extent that you are incapable of operating the vehicle safely. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, contact our Office today for a free initial consultation, or submit a Free Case Evaluation Form on our website.