Md. Officials Want To Ban DUI Checkpoint Mobile Apps

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.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • PetuniaFields

    High Tech Alcoholics! damn, welfare must pay handsomely!

    • CarmanK

      there are a lot more drunks on the road that are not on welfare. They are the ones that society lets skate through the process because they have the money to pay the high priced lawyers.

  • ben

    How is it any different than a radar detecter?

  • joel

    There are plenty of alcoholics and drug abusers in the rich suburbs too. Stop hating.

  • Electron Wizard

    This isn’t the only problem. Local newspapers print their whereabouts a week in advance. What has to be done is to stop that practice. Only the state police know where the checkpoints are to be set up. If they appear in the paper or any publication, then there is a severe security breach right there. This then opens up the door for Google and Apple to do their thing with the GPS software applications. If drivers are coherent enough to know their surroundings, then they should already know go-arounds when the checkpoints are setup, without using GPS, Google or Apple as aids in beating them. Aren’t the checkpoints supposed to be like speed and seatbelt traps? That is, “Surprise!, we got you!!” In either case, the states have to go after the media first THEN the electronic gadget manufactureres….

    • Tony Bonura

      They have to make it public were the checkpoint is by law!!!

    • RT

      Yeah because the supreme court itself said this is a violation of our 4th amendment rights, they said it’s OK to do DUI checkpoints only with minimal invasion and a set of rules that go about them, which is ultimately set up by each state. In fact there are 10 states where DUI check points are illegal because they violate their own states constitution. In MD not only do you have the right to know where and when the checkpoint is going to be, but you have no obligation to even roll down your window. Therefore one of the requirements to make checkpoints legal is they tell the public where and when the checkpoint is that way you can avoid it if you wish to. These apps will never be illegal because of 2 things the 1st amendment and the 4th amendment.

  • Herman Glimsher




    • Dan

      The police are required by law to publicize a checkpoint ahead of time, otherwise it is entrapment, and violates the 4th amendment. The makers of the app access the publicized checkpoint schedules, and update their app with the new checkpoint info.

  • bacchys

    That checkpoints are publicly declared ahead of time isn’t a “security breach.” It’s part of what makes them constitutional.

    But I see we have more than a few unamerican nitwits in Maryland…

    • Electron Wizard

      THe security breach is between someone tied to law enforcement and the media. There is nothing un-american about keeping the locations confidential you PINHEAD!!! Leaking information to the media about the checkpoints is like giving bank robbers keys to the bank. This only confirms that individuals like yourself want to stay ahead of the game & beat the system while driving sloshed!!! If they can make these checkpoints totally unknown, all would be better off….

      • bacchys

        It’s unconstitutional if the checkpoint locations aren’t public information. The Fourth Amendment prohibits suspicionless searches and seizures, and one of the reasons the Supreme Court allowed this little end-run around the Fourth is that the checkpoint locations were made public notice prior to being set up.

        Not supporting the Constitution and the constitutional rights of Americans is unamerican, you sorry sack of wannabe tyrants. If you don’t like this country, get out. If you don’t like freedom, get out. I’m sure there’s a dictator somewhere who governs his banana republic in a manner more fitting to your mindlessness.

    • pbj

      where do you live? In unamerica

      • bacchys

        Clever. You must be tops in your middle school…

  • ratm

    It is protected by the constitution but we dont care. See how are government is. Hello the constitution was set to protect us. THis guy is a complete discrase to the american people. I hope they tell him to shove it. I also think that red light cameras should be illegal also. I Mean a company makes more money from them than the state does. Am i alone here or what. They sometimes post them in the paper before they do them so I dont understand how they are wrong for just telling people what they know from reading the paper.

    • Squaregrouper

      I’m surprised you were the only one to catch the fact that Gansler admitted this is a RIGHT, protected under the 1st amendment- yet he is trying to stop it anyway. Oh wait, we’re in Maryland, where the lemmings vote for these guys over and over.

  • Chrissy Mad Anderson

    Anyone who needs an app to tell them really is stupid, other than the fact that they shouldn’t be drinking and driving, but really? DUI checks look like freaking construction zones, you don’t need an app to know where they are before you hit them.

    • Mehemt

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  • Scott's County

    What’s the difference between having this app and someone posting to hundreds of their friends on Facebook where the DUI checkpoints are? Or, what about texting your friends that on your way home, you got stopped at a checkpoint. Will informing anyone even by word of mouth also be made illegal? Come on! Maryland State Police: hands off the US Constitution! Go back to patrolling our roadways! You already lost in court over video taping with audio our encounters with you. Give it up! American freedom is more important!

  • raacerx

    the problem of drinking and driving is people have to get home or go somewhere after the bar. if everyone goes to a bar to drink, how the hell are they suppose to get home. the law is stupid its automatically set up so people go out and drink and drive.

    i am sure everyone has done it at leas once. if the state doesn’t want people to drink and drive it should set up some sort service for people to get home. or ask car manufactures to put breathalyzers in every car.
    as people, our nature will always be to not to go to jail that just how it is. anyways even if they stop selling on the app store if your iphone is jail-broken, you can download the app from a different store.
    get a clue

    • Jamie Phelps

      I don’t know, maybe it’s called call a cab. Or go out with friends and have a designated driver. It’s not that hard to not be an idiot and not drink and drive.

    • Scoba

      Nice I don’t drink, but I could imnigae this would have been veryyyyy useful when I had and lord knows I get drunk enough off of anxiety at sobriety checkpoints anyways haha THANKS!

  • Doug

    Have a drink,have a drive,
    go out and see what you can find.

  • D.B. Lawrence

    Sorry, but those apps need to be blocked, NOW!!! Just because they can does not mean they can be used.

  • Scott's County

    D.B Lawrence:

    You cannot ban this app as it would be a violantion of the US Bill of Right’s 1st Amendment right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. A ban would nevr stand up in Federal Court, nor would any high Maryland court allow it to go into effect. Banning such an app would open the door to very dangerous laws that not only could, but would eventually lead to all sorts of violations of our rights that our nation’s founding fathers intended for us to all have as we were declaring our independence from the tyrranical Brittish Empire. Benjamin Franklin once stated, “Those willing to give up freedom for safety, deserve neither.” Think carefully what you are proposing for your big brother government to do to our freedoms before you speak, Lawrence. Your words are dangerous! You sound very Communist to me.

  • pjb

    It’s realy very simple, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

  • JustMe

    I think this is clearly pretty straightforward. The Supreme Court has admitted that DUI Checkpoints violate the 4th Amendment but claim that the benefit to public safety justifies such a “minor” violation. I have to respectfully disagree. However, even they agreed that because of the 4th Amendment violation sobriety checkpoints had to be done “properly,” and part of doing it “properly” (by their own explanation) includes pre-publicizing the checkpoint. It seems clear that the Police, and out Attorney General seem to think the public should not be notified. However, implicit in the fact that they are not trying to pass a law to ban these apps, is the fact that they know such a law would be in violation of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of our Constitution. After all, trying to ban publishing public information is a clear violation of the First Amendment. So instead, they simply use their position to apply pressure to the authors of such applications. That’s an abuse of power in my opinion. Plain and simple.

    I rarely drink, and do not drink and drive. Personally, I’d prefer to avoid sobriety checkpoints, not because I’m scared of getting a DUI arrest (although I see no reason to voluntarily risk one), but because its a waste of my time, a waste of my resources (gasoline, wear to car), and I’d simply rather not have a police officer nosing around in my car.

    • Help Us

      I agree, mistakes are made, I don’t want to be the one risking my job and paying thousands of dollars clearing myself if it could have been avoided.

    • shaneeeen

      I couldnt have said it better!

    • gammee07

      very nicely worded!!!!!



  • Common Sense

    Checkpoints are BS anyway, the problem is they have lowered the % so much now that they can pretty much get anyone who has onlly had two beers.
    It has gone to the extreme in the opposite direction. They ruin a persons life, and cost them thousands of dollars for drinking a product that is legal. Don’t get me wrong, drinking and driving is stupid, but so is overly aggressive laws that really only are money makers for lawyers and the State. More people die from smoking every week in MD, than die in a year from drunk driving accidents. But, you don’t see these same politicians trying to outlaw cigs do ya……

  • Help Us

    This the USA, the finest country in the world, built on the ideas of freedoms and tolerance. But times have changed; we need our government to help us make the right decisions. How can the general public be trusted to make the right decisions when it comes to bearing arms, funding programs, the foods we eat and of course cell phone apps. We elect these officials based on their abilities to make decisions for us.

    • shaneeeen

      WOW I feel very sorry for you if you trust politicians to decide what freedoms you deserve. When someone breaks into your home and you have no way to protect yourself, you will realize just how ignorant you are as the assailant pulls the trigger.

      • Help Us

        Sorry (sarcastic), guess my sarcasm wasn’t all that clear. I love this country it’s the government that scares me sometimes.

  • gwood

    punish people who are caught and you will have less people breaking the law. not only for dui but for all crimes. criminals and drunk drivers know that they will probably get away with it even if they are caught. drive drunk, lose your licensee for several years, no exceptions, no drive to work permits, get caught driving after you lose it, forfeit the car your driving and go directly to jail. i drink. i drive, but not together. we dont need tougher laws, we need tougher judges and less lawyers.

    • bacchys

      Why bother with a trial? We’ll just let police officers shoot offenders when they catch them. Can’t be anything wrong with that idea, can there?

  • Annoyed

    “You rare my revenue, my blessed revenue, you make me rich while the rest get poor, you’ll never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my revenue away” …. sung to the tune of You are My Sunshine… performed by O’Malley’s March.

  • RT

    Last I checked avoiding the government and preventing them from having too much power over us is the American thing to do. Corporations have a responsibility to provide the public with things they want to consume in this case an app. Not a responsibility to do as the govt says. You know what I say to the legislature? Boo hoo. I highly doubt roads will be More not safe because of this. Also I highly doubt the DUI arrests will go down. Though I’m not positive on this stat I’m pretty sure your more likly to get into an accident with a sober person.

  • ernie

    I think they should have checkpoints & offer drinks for the weary travelers. Coming home today on I-95, there was way too much traffic. In spite of the billions & the some 18 lanes stretched across I-95 up to i-695, where it funnels & creates havoc, Hello engineers, We need more drunks killing themselves to take cars off the roads. I think a fifth of bourbon at every tool booth or a shooter should help. I am not alone in this thinking….I’m having a drink right now while posting & driving.

  • Macbones

    Ok folks. So they set up these “DUI” checkpoints. If there are any other issues- like your insurance is not up to date, or your inspection is bad, or your seatbelt is not on, you are going to get a ticket for that. Most of the tickets dispensed are not DUI in fact they are for other infractions. SO what you have is SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS EAST GERMANY. So if you are a local troublemaker- and write letters to the editor about how police pensions should be cut and so forth. . . your going to have a very unpleasant experience. This is how we loose our freedoms. . . one little bit at a time. Where your seatbelt. Bike helmets for the kids. Can’t sit in the front seat until you’re 14. No smoking in bars. Can’t ride in the back of a pickup. Helmet laws on motorcycles. Watch wear you surf on the internet. Get your car inspected. Get a special licence to drive home from Canada. Yep. Gets to the point where we’ve all got the chance to be a criminal in some way or another. . .

  • Macbones

    Ok- I’d better watch out for the spelling police.

  • JustABill

    Welcome to the Socialist Republic of Maryland. Will the last free thinking, right minded, conservative refugee please turn out the lights on your way across the state line.

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