NYPD Takes Action Against Waze Reporting of DUI Checkpoints

Most drivers (both drinkers and non-drinkers) hate DUI checkpoints. Many police departments announce the date and time of their DUI checkpoints but do not reveal the location. Obviously, their goal is to ensure that people who have a habit of getting behind the wheel while drunk are caught so that they don’t continue the habit.

In general, DUI checkpoints are manned at locations based on past DUI arrests and collision statistics. Data from law enforcement reveals that such DUI checkpoints help deter DUI drivers and ensure public safety. However, people today are getting very smart, and they are becoming even more active because of access to different technological tools.

For the past 15 years, drivers have been alerting their friends and families about DUI checkpoints with the use of their smartphones. Initially, this practice was limited to a few individuals since it required time and effort. However, over the past few years, drivers have been using the Waze application made by Google to communicate to the masses where the law enforcement DUI checkpoints are located. Waze is an app that offers live traffic and navigation streaming

There is no doubt that smartphone apps have made people’s life very easy. But an app of this type can actually work against public safety. At least, this is what the New York Police Department (NYPD) feels. They are clearly not happy with Waze. In fact, the NYPD has issued a formal letter to Google demanding that it stop users from posting the DUI checkpoints via Waze.

NYPD has stated in its letter to Google that permitting users to upload GPA data of DUI checkpoints set by police is akin to ‘encouraging reckless driving.’ In fact the New York Acting Deputy Commissioner Ann Punty mentioned in her letter to Google, ‘that any individual who posts the DUI checkpoint locations is engaging in criminal conduct because such action may be an intentional attempt to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI  laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws.’ She added, ‘..the posting of such information for public consumption is irresponsible since it only serves to aid impaired and intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and encourage reckless driving.’

The letter demands that Google remove all current DUI checkpoint data and make sure that no further data is posted via Waze, Google maps or any other similar platform that is owned or linked to Google.

The Waze website clearly states that it wants the drivers to be alerted before they encounter law enforcement officers at a DUI checkpoint. The NYPD is questioning the goals of this website and the app. Do they want to encourage drunk driving? Do they want drivers to become arrogant that they can do anything on the road as long as they know which points to avoid?

Waze, on the other hand, has the opposite to say in its defense. Unlike the police, Waze believes that its platform plays a proactive role in promoting safer driving. By revealing the DUI checkpoints, the website believes that this helps promote road and traffic safety since drivers are more likely to tend to obey traffic laws and drive with care. Thus, by alerting other drivers, this further helps promote safety on the roads.

The Waze application also has a comments section where users can communicate openly with each other with what they are observing on the road and can provide details to other drivers. However, administrators of Waze insist that the chat function has never been a preset Waze alert.

Whatever Waze has to say about the app has not been enough to convince the NYPD. In fact, the NYPD is not the first law enforcement agency to speak out against Waze. Police in several states have stated that motorists who use the Waze apps are a danger to the public and it is all a matter of time before an accident happens.

NYPD has reiterated that if the Waze policy is not altered, it will seek all legal remedies to prevent such irresponsible posting. However, inside sources reveal that Google is not likely to change its Waze policy.

What do you think about the Waze app? Do you think it promotes road safety or vice versa? Let us know your thoughts.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you can contact our DUI lawyers at The Bateman Law Firm for more information. Keep in mind that a DUI charge is a serious offense. You should not take it lightly, and you definitely should not be dealing with it on your own. Call our DUI attorneys today so that they can help you deal with the legal aspects of your DUI charge.

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