Apple Halts New DUI Checkpoint Apps
Smartphone apps are great, but not when they make the roads more hazardous by helping drunk drivers avoid the police. So it’s good news that Apple has finally announced its store will stop carrying new apps that tip drivers off to those drunk driving checkpoints that haven’t already been disclosed by the police.
It was back in March that four U.S. Senators — Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Harry Reid of Nevada, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and Tom Udall of New Mexico — wrote to executives at Apple, Google, and Research in Motion, asking them to stop selling those apps or to remove their phones’ DUI checkpoint function. The senators made their request because some police agencies are troubled by the increasingly popular free or cheap apps that help drivers avoid drunk driving checkpoints.
Apple, maker of the iPhone, and Google, which sells Android-based apps, did not. At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law last month Schumer pressed Apple and Google executives to restrict sales of such apps.
The senators applauded Apple’s move to restrict future apps with the checkpoint functionality but said the company also should remove current ones. ‘I strongly encourage Apple to take the next responsible step of removing all applications that allow unsafe drivers to evade police checkpoints,’ Reid said.
‘This victory will remain only half-won until the existing apps are removed from the store,’ Schumer said.
And, as Brian Hartwig writes in the NY Daily News:
MADD also wrote a letter in May urging Apple to ban the checkpoint-finding apps.
Laura Dean-Mooney, National President of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), wrote to Apple and Google executives in May urging them to remove from their stores those apps that could help drunk drivers avoid sobriety checkpoints. She said that in 2009, 10,839 people were killed in DUI crashes, representing 32% of all highway accident fatalities.