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Md. Officials Want To Ban DUI Checkpoint Mobile Apps

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State police say there’s a new way drunk drivers are getting around their DUI checkpoints. They download detours on their cell phones. Now the state wants to keep the software away from drivers.

Gigi Barnett has more.

Smart phone technology can be a driver’s dream. It has GPS features for directions and if there’s trouble, cell phones have quick-dial emergency buttons.

But now, Google and Apple have a cell phone software that pinpoints exactly where police have set up DUI checkpoints. Maryland’s Attorney General, Doug Gansler, wants it off the market.

“It’s much like giving a robber a key and the alarm pad code to go rob a bank on a map. It’s just not appropriate, it doesn’t help society and people die as a result,” he said.

State police agree; they want the app nixed, too.

According to their figures, more than 24,000 drunk drivers are arrested in Maryland every year. Officers fear the software will stall their success.

“We work very hard to keep our highways safe and to identify and arrest drunk drivers out there. It’s not something we want to see,” said State Police spokesperson Greg Shipley.

Gansler admits that the app isn’t illegal and it’s protected under the First Amendment, but he says that hasn’t stopped him from writing Google and Apple asking them to stop making the app available to drivers.

“All we’re doing it saying you have a corporate responsibility not to help people avoid getting caught for committing crimes,” Gansler said.

Maryland isn’t alone in the fight to remove the application. Other states, like Delaware, have written the software’s makers, too. Some drivers say downloading it is out of the question.

“That’s a very stupid idea. It’s the same thing with radar detectors, you shouldn’t have them,” said driver Christine Cordell.

In addition to Maryland and Delaware’s Attorney Generals, several U.S. senators are also asking the app makers to stop selling it in their online stores.

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