Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DUI Checkpoint App Ban


A few Senators sent a letter to Google, Apple and Research In Motion to remove their DUI Checkpoint Apps from the marketplace. These apps provide information on DUI checkpoint locations or allow drivers to alert each other of DUI locations. The Senators lament that apps alerting users of DUI checkpoints are "harmful to public safety".



However, what the Senators fail to mention, is that this information is readily available to anyone who takes the time to do a little research. These apps simply speed up the research process. By law, police agencies must notify the public of a pending checkpoint. They usually do so in the form of a press release. So for example, go to the Irvine Police Department web site and hit the tab for "press releases". Here, they post all their media notices to the public, including a March 16th entry that advises that on March 17th a checkpoint will be held near Jamboree and Alton in Irvine. One of the steps required in order to have a legal checkpoint is prior notice to the public. Checkpoints are not a secret and as the statistics show checkpoints have not reduced the DUI numbers. The California Office of Traffic Safety keeps statistics on the number of DUI arrests, checkpoints and all traffic safety issues. ( http://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Publications_and_Reports/hsp10/2010%20APR.pdf).



What we do know is that checkpoints only catch an extremely small percentage of DUI drivers, most are arrested by roving patrols, and the number of DUI arrests go up almost every year. The Senators may want to spend their time legislating for free shuttles from neighborhoods to drinking hubs and ban parking lots at these establishments. The money is there, it just needs to be redirected. Oh, and by the way stop calling DUIs "drunk drivers".....you don't have to be drunk to be DUI. This may also help with "public safety".

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