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Cell Phone Apps Pinpoint DUI Checkpoints in Alabama

Posted by Steven Eversole | Apr 28, 2011 | 0 Comments

As cell phone apps allow drivers to locate sobriety checkpoints, government officials are targeting the providing companies and claiming that they're deterring drivers from receiving
DUI charges in Alabama
and elsewhere in the United States.

According to The New York Times, four Democratic senators composed letters to Apple, Research in Motion (RIM) and Google asking them to remove several unnamed apps that provided DUI checkpoint location information to users. The letter informed these companies that such software could be used by a drunk driver to navigate their way around these DUI checkpoints, putting “putting innocent families and children at risk.”
A Birmingham DUI defense lawyer should be called immediately if you're facing DUI charges as the result of a checkpoint stop.

“These applications are nothing more than a how-to guide in avoiding law enforcement and they provide drunk drivers with the tools they need to go undetected,” argued Senator Schumer of New York.

“PhantomAlert” is one of the most popular and the most sophisticated programs alerting drivers of checkpoint whereabouts. The program has approximately 500,000 locations in its database. This database grows every time drivers send in a real-time alert pertaining to an enforcement location. These alerts are subsequently corroborated by other users. Through GPS information, the next driver that approaches an active checkpoint, and is running the cell phone application, will receive a warning. This system, that was initially created to locate speed traps, is available to smart phone users for $9.99 a month.

“With a person dying every 50 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, this technology should not be promoted to your customers,” stated the letter from the Democratic senators. “In fact, it shouldn't even be available.”
Application companies say the devices act as a deterrent — that knowing authorities are operating checkpoints will make a driver think twice about drinking and driving.

The truth is these DUI checkpoints really haven't been too worthwhile as a law enforcement tool for years as the number of drunk driving accidents is at an all-time low. Some would even argue that in the absence of these warning applications, drivers still have resources to warn each other about such checkpoints. Drivers can use text messages, cell phone calls and good old word of mouth to relay these messages.

These checkpoints primarily benefit government agencies as they pay overtime for checkpoint workers and provide a demonstration to the public showing that they're being proactive and tough on crime.


Birmingham Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Steven Eversole represents clients facing drunk driving and other serious criminal charges throughout the Birmingham area, including Vestavia Hills, Lake Purdy, and Forestdale. Call Toll Free 1-866-831-5292.

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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