NYPD to Google: Quit tracking drunk-driving checkpoints on Waze

Waze DWI Checkpoints

Waze DWI Checkpoints

The NYPD's concerns are shared by the National Sheriff's Association, which emphasizes on its website: "There is NO legitimate reason for Waze to have the police locator feature!"

'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 Waze app works much like Google Maps but it includes crowd-sourced functions that allow users to flag various driving conditions, including accidents, DWI checkpoints, and so-called "speed traps".

There is, however, a comments feature on each reported instance on the Waze live map, where users can talk openly about what they're seeing, and that can include details of a checkpoint.

The activity is also helping drunk drivers avoid detection and capture, the NYPD asserts, making the roads more risky to the drivers, their passengers, and the general public.

"If you are impaired, you are not going to pay attention to that information", she said, adding that in her experience, drunken drivers coming through sobriety checkpoints were often very confused or unaware of what was happening. "The goal is to make everyone aware that if you drink, don't drive, and if you drive, don't drink".

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sobriety checkpoints - first introduced in the U.S. in the 1980s - reduced alcohol-related fatal, injury, and property damage crashes by roughly 20 percent in each category. While pressure from the Senate prompted Apple to remove some drunk-driving checkpoint apps in 2011, Google refused to fold.

A new feature recently added to the mobile application is the addition of speed camera locations which warn drivers when they are on approach.

Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck complained in December 2014 that Waze could be 'misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community'.

While the NYPD says informing drunk drivers about roadblocks is risky, Google claims the feature is there to inform users of speed traps.

In 2016, Waze launched Carpool, a feature that persuades drivers using the navigation app to pick up people who are heading in the same direction. "The Waze police icon represents general police presence". It insisted the app's capabilities should not be allowed and could even be considered illegal.

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