In the Waze app, users can publicize things like speed traps, accidents, and DWI checkpoints in an effort to alert other Waze users about upcoming hazards.
Although Waze users have been doing this for years, the New York Police Department seems to have only learned about the practice recently. According to the local CBS news department of New York, the NYPD just sent an open letter to Google requesting the elimination of this app feature.
The NYPD seems particularly incensed by the public listings of DWI checkpoints, which is where police will randomly pull over drivers in a selected area and check to see if drivers are sober. By warning other drivers about these checkpoints, the NYPD argues that criminals who are driving while intoxicated will purposely avoid the checkpoints, putting their lives — and the lives of others — in danger.
Here’s part of the letter discussing this problem:
Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws. 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. Revealing the location of checkpoints puts those drivers, their passengers, and the general public at risk.
Neither Google or Waze has released a statement on this matter. We reached out to Google but didn’t hear back before press time.
Recently, Google integrated speed limit information and the location of likely speed traps into Google Maps. It’s unknown whether it plans to bring over the DWI checkpoint feature from Waze.