Ten months ago, San Diego County DUI Law Center began a list of Southern California DUI checkpoints, focused mainly in San Diego, so that good folks driving could avoid Drunk Driving Checkpoints. The locations appear here.
Verizon’s iPhone 4 came out a couple of months ago. Southern California’s Orange County bailbondsman Baron Zweber then started an iPhone app, For $4.99 app, “Checkpointer,” lists upcoming DUI checkpoints in Orange County.
However, four Democratic senators informed Apple, Google and RIM to cease selling apps like Checkpointer, apps that “allow drunk drivers to evade police checkpoints.”
Welcome to America.
RIM apparently agreed while Google will only remove apps from sale that are in violation of its policies, which include the guideline: “Keep it legal. Don’t engage in unlawful activities on this product.”
Here’s the full text of the 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 these 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.
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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.
Thank you for your prompt and careful consideration of this matter. Should you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.
Sincerely, Senator Reid
Attorneys point out the Supreme Court requires advance notice.
As advertised, “Checkpointer could potentially SAVE you thousands of dollars by helping you avoid an arrest for a DUI: Knowing the whereabouts of a DUI checkpoint might encourage you to think twice before drinking to the point of intoxication.”
DUI checkpoints are publicized by law enforcement agencies for the purpose of deterring drinking and driving.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, which funds the majority of DUI checkpoints in the state, publicizing the DUI checkpoints is encouraged; though how specific those alerts are when it comes to location and time is left to the individual agencies conducting the checkpoints.
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If available, information may include the intersection, road or simply the city and time of day when a checkpoint will occur.
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Apps like PhantomAlert depend on user reported information to build a database of checkpoints.
If they discontinue the apps, San Diego DUI Checkpoint information is still available on this lawyer Rick Mueller’s SanDiegoDUIlawyer.com website.