Apps Help Drunk Drivers Avoid DWI Charges

By Matthew Hibbard

Source: Trapster/PhantomALERT

Drink too much but think you can risk driving home? No worries, there’s an app for that.

Mobile applications such as PhantomAlert, Trapster and Buzzed include alerts of upcoming sobriety checkpoints, giving drunk drivers the inside scoop when driving back home. Some programs also warn drivers of speed traps, roving radar-equipped patrol cars and recent accidents.

These apps have caused some frustration in Washington, D.C. The federal government and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have asked Apple, Google and Research in Motion (RIM) to remove the app from their stores. So far, RIM has been the only company to comply. Last month, Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg and Tom Udall have asked all three companies to remove the app.

According to a New York Times article, Google says the app doesn’t violate any of its criteria for removal. The app doesn’t supply explicit material, nor does the app bully anyone or contain hateful speech.

Sobriety checkpoints are effective not because of the checkpoints themselves but because of the thought of one being out there. The checkpoints, the article states, are intended to deter drunk driving by simply being there, vaguely.

That’s exactly what Joe Scott, PhantomAlert’s founder is saying to skeptics. He argues that local police departments publicize their checkpoints to the media to remind people to think first before driving intoxicated.

If removing these apps from the stores is the answer, proponents wonder what will be next. A writer for Fox News wonders if censoring Twitter messages about checkpoints will be next.

Regardless if you agree with the app or not, it does bring an interesting question into the spotlight. When does technology become less of a convenience and more of a hassle?

Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


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