App criticized for helping to identify DWI checkpoints

Local

The Google app Waze is a popular GPS navigation system with a feature that allows drivers to alert others to DWI checkpoints. It’s a thorn in the side of the New York Police Department. The department sent a cease and desist saying it prevents administration of DWI laws.

“If they’re going to use an app at all, I’d rather it be an Uber or Lyft app as opposed to a Waze app,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

He’s seen a steep drop in arrests at his checkpoints, which he credits to the use of ride-sharing.

“It’s not about trying to be sneaky and getting all the numbers, you know. We’ll actually tell people this is where we’re going to be, but you’d still be amazed with the people that will come through,” Apple said.

“There’s not any good with being able to alert people with the exact locations because you’re really defeating the purpose,” said Michael Stewart whose son was killed by an impaired driver.

When Stewart read about the app feature, he said all he could do is shake his head.

“It’s for one thing: It’s to break the law. It’s not a convenience thing,” Stewart said.

Stewart’s son died in 2012 after being rear-ended by an impaired driver. He speaks often about its impact on his and his family’s life. 

Stewart said if lawmakers come out against this feature as well, he’ll stand right with them.

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