Police

Reason.tv: Don't Ban DUI Checkpoint Apps!

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants to control your smartphone.

Yesterday, Schumer went after Google, Apple, and other smartphone-industry players who have refused to follow a "voluntary" request by him and Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that they ban apps that show where police are setting up driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoints, speed traps, and the like.

State officials are applying similar pressure (and are also claiming that all requests for compliance are "voluntary"). Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, is pushing for bans and so is Maryland's Attorney General Doug Gansler, who likened the apps to "giving a robber the key and the alarm pad code to go rob a bank."

As a direct result of the pressure, Research in Motion, maker of Blackberry products, blocked the apps.

But are apps that give citizens more information about what law enforcement is up to a bad thing? They clearly fall under First Amendment guarantees of free expression (that's why lawmakers are saying their requests are "voluntary"). But perhaps more important, such apps actually minimize drunk driving and speeding—which is one of the reasons why police in places such as Travis County, Texas, are the ones entering the information for DUI checkpoint apps such as Trapster. As a Travis County cop puts it, if he can stop the problematic behavior without writing tickets or hauling people in, everybody is better off.

That's an irony that's lost on bullying pols such as Schumer, Biden, and others. But it's one of the reasons why the audience for such apps continues to grow.

Approximately 3.27 minutes. Featuring Cato Institute policy analyst Julian Sanchez and President of the Association for Competitive Technology Jonathan Zuck.

Produced by Joshua Swain with Nick Gillespie, who also narrates. Filmed by Swain and Jim Epstein.

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72 responses to “Reason.tv: Don't Ban DUI Checkpoint Apps!

  1. Not sure if it’s like this everywhere but in Ohio they have to announce the checkpoints in advance. Every holiday weekend, anyone with half a brain who’s going out partying checks the local news websites to see where they’re at and than we email all of our friends as well. What you won’t ever see are DUI checkpoints in affluent neighborhoods where politicians live.

    1. “”Not sure if it’s like this everywhere but in Ohio they have to announce the checkpoints in advance. “”

      Many places announce them in advance. That’s where some of the apps get their data. Schumer is just a tool for government authority.

      1. Wait…so these apps are just conveying information that is available publicly and legally??

        1. Yes. And God damn it they are nothing but criminals for doing it.

    2. They’re posted in the local paper where I live.

  2. As a Travis County cop puts it, if he can stop the problematic behavior without writing tickets or hauling people in, everybody is better off.

    I bet the county officials would like to have a word with him concerning revenue.

    1. I’m sure you’d win the bet. To politicians, this issue is about revenue and control, not safety.

    2. For sure. All the “safety” law are for revenue generation.

      1. Perhaps Travis County, Texas, is one of the few jurisdictions that has examined the costs associated with making those arrests vs. the revenue potentially gained from tickets. The benefits in reduced societal and administrative costs by reducing arrests and discouraging behavior before it happens has a serious value for county and state governments.

  3. who likened the apps to “giving a robber the key and the alarm pad code to go rob a bank.”

    Ah yes, Ticket Quota Savings and Loan.

    1. It’s always funny…strange funny to hear the government speak of stealing.

  4. If Beau, Gansler et al. had any smarts, they’d just enter in a few dozen false DUI stops every day; even if drivers figured it out, they’d be terrified as to which were real and which were not.

    That, of course, would be assuming the object is to reduce drunk driving fatalities, rather than raise revenue.

  5. Avoiding DUI checkpoints shaves minutes off of my drive, and saves gas. Why do these folks hate the environment?

  6. Chuck Schumer: possibly the most vile weasel in DC. Did I mention how much I despise Chuck?

    1. Yeah, he’s a douchbag

    2. Admit it, you’re jealous of his moobs.

      1. Oh, if he was just a little more limber… Chuck’s dream of tittyfucking himself could be realized.

        1. eeeuuuuwwwww

        2. That’s much better than his continued fucking of us.

      2. You’re thinking of NutraSweet. As in, I’m jealous of his moobs. They’re so much nicer than Chuck’s.

        Did you ever see that documentary on Waco? Just the footage of Chuck’s unbelievably disgusting, condescending, utterly statist questioning of witnesses will make your blood boil.

        1. I heard it described from too many friends. I figured I would be due for an aneurysm if I watched it. Yeah, now that Ted’s dead, Chuckie easily takes the prize as most loathsome human garbage in the Senate.

          1. I once thought that I wouldn’t wish brain cancer on my worst enemy. Having said that, if I WERE to wish brain cancer on someone, Teddy would be have been the one.

            Now that Ted’s gone…….

    3. He’s a retard. Apparently they haven’t learned anything from watching what’s going on in the mideast – even over there information is getting out. They can’t stop it here any more than they can turn back the tide with a fork.

      1. Waxman is the ugliest weasel in DC. He’s just slightly less vile than Chuck.

        1. what?

        2. You are given the choice of motorboating Chuck Schumer’s bitch tits, looking into Henry Waxman’s proboscis, or giving a prostate exam to Jerrold Nadler. Which do you choose? SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION.

          1. I guess I choose…MADNESS.

          2. Try to stop me, pal.

        3. Lautenberg is worse than the both of ’em.

    4. I watched Schumer in a documentary about the Waco massacre. Schumer was interrogating and brow beating the attorneys who defended branch davidians against murder charges, they were all acquitted.

      If you are on the fence about Schumer, please watch that video. He is a vile piece flesh.

    5. Chucky is just one of many.

  7. As if these checkpoints were not already unreasonable search and seizure, now these guys want to infringe upon freedom of speech? Kick these a-holes out already.

    1. they have been adjudicated thusly in my state. we don’t have them. that’s because our state constitution recognizes a right to privacy

      1. Tell me what state so I can move there.

        1. WA. it’s in our constitution. govt agents much more restricted in search and seizure than under federal standard, since under an independent reading grounds of our constitution, rights are more extensive.

          note that ANY state can have more rights than the federal baseline and none can have less

  8. It’s hilarious and sad, Congress had a big hearing on about how the cellular companies might be invading privacy– and turned it into complaining that the cell companies aren’t keeping records for law enforcement and aren’t banning these types of ads.

    Typical.

  9. In San Francisco, they advertise the presence of checkpoints on the evening news just about every amateur drinking night (St. Paddy’s, Cinqo de Mayo, tax Day, etc..) Obviously, the point is to reduce drunk driving. I know they need revenue to stage fake kidnappings at elementary schools, but can’t they just hold a bake sale?

  10. Is the next step to charge people with obstruction for posting about a checkpoint they saw?

    1. Please don’t give them ideas.

  11. How about instead of banning them, we make them obsolete. Instead of using checkpoints, which are easily avoided by these apps, why not have police watching for dangerous driving, and pulling those guys over. That’s much harder to avoid, and targets the dangerous drivers more specifically.

    Also, it’s constitutional, which is a bonus for those of us outside of the law enforcement and political grandstanding industries.

    1. Unpossible!

  12. How about instead of banning them, we make them obsolete. Instead of using checkpoints, which are easily avoided by these apps, why not have police watching for dangerous driving, and pulling those guys over. That’s much harder to avoid, and targets the dangerous drivers more specifically.

    Also, it’s constitutional, which is a bonus for those of us outside of the law enforcement and political grandstanding industries.

  13. So… any recommendations for an Android checkpoint app?

  14. I’m confused. How does this reduce drunk driving? Wouldn’t drunks simply drive *around* the roadblock rather than not drive at all?

    1. Gotta be sober enough to work the app.

  15. Of course Research in Motion caved. Canadians are very deferential to government power.

  16. Nick & Josh, the Travis County link doesn’t go to an article where any Travis County officer is quoted. Also, I’m not sure why anyone in Travis County would be entering DUI checkpoint information as they are illegal in Texas.

  17. What the HELL is wrong with Schumer?! It seems like, wherever you see gross government overreach, you see him.

    And he has MOOBS. I no longer feel guilty about wanting him to get a bra. He has it coming.

    1. Anti-Moobite.

  18. Equating wanting to avoid a roadblock to giving robbers the keys to the house, who other than a politician can make such a stupid statement. Perhaps politicians should be forced to go into roadblocks like everyone else is.

    1. politicians DO go through roadblocks. in my state they are unconstitutional (right to privacy in our constitution) but where i used to work, we arrested a county politician for DUI at a checkpoint. he was pretty embarassed.

  19. Sobriety check points are bad, but we don’t mind people getting into their vehicles drunk and driving on the same roads as we do?

    1. I know there’s a logical fallacy that describes this, but my junior college logic course was 1984.

      TE, it’s possible to answer YES to both.

  20. What we need is some kind of GIS based neighborhood watch system, that keeps an eye on the cops and the informants. And some kind of trust system to let people know about visits before they happen.

    1. Or a snitch alert. But I do agree. More info on rats/pigs would be much welcome.

  21. People will of course invoke “protecting the children” from drunk drivers as the reason for banning this type of app. So let me be blunt and cut to the chase and just say it’s worth 500 dead children per year to not live in a country where apps like this are banned. (Spare me the “what if it was your child?” outrage… if it were my child then my opinion should not count because of irrational victim bias… all opinions of victims should be disregarded because their opinion is presumed and thus inherent in the conversation).

    1. whatever one thinks of the checkpoints, imo the ban on apps would be unconstitutional

    2. So you think we should be able to go to work drunk? Even in labor jobs that require sober attention and operating of heavy machinery?

      1. i’ll answer this… depends on the job. if you are a musician, heck some play better after a few beers (if not drunk). and i say that as a guy who played in bands for a long time.

        obviously, if you are in a career where you are operating machinery, let alone a mother vehicle – the answer is no

        but that’s tangential to the issue of these apps, and roadblocks.

        fwiw, since i am a public employee, my employer needs “reasonable suspicion” (lower than probable cause standard) to mandate i take a breathalyzer on duty

        1. obviously, if you are in a career where you are operating machinery, let alone a mother vehicle – the answer is no

          but that’s tangential to the issue of these apps, and roadblocks.

          So the answer is to preventing drunk driving isn’t to punish them but rather to enable criminals to circumvent the law?

          1. look man, i HATE drunk driving… my academy classmate was killed by one, i have many coworkers who have been injured by them, etc.

            they suck.

            i am all for AGGRESSIVE DUI enforcement.

            unlike many people here, i am fine with a .08 standard for DUI’s.

            and the two pronged civil/criminal DUI investigations, and the implied consent laws.

            i strongly believe in detecting and punishing DUI’s

            i do not believe the DUI checkpoint app ban is CONSTITUTIONAL. so, i am against them

            fwiw, we cant have checkpoints in my state, because our state constitution has a right to privacy, but that’s another story.

  22. In South Dakota our Highway Patrol has a service that you sign up for that they text you the location of their checkpoints….

  23. who seems to be just as much of a statist dickwad as Pappa Joe.

  24. The United States has been dead for a very long time. We’ve been living in the People’s Grand Imperial Ascendancy of the Most Holy American God-Empire, or the PGIAMHAGE, with Supreme God-King Barack Obama leading us to righteousness, and Associate Overlord of the Divine Legislature Chuck Schumer beating off to the idea of censorship.

  25. So… if I see a speed trap, and flash my lights at oncoming traffic to warn them of said speed trap…

    1. You can be ticketed, usually under the code of “interfering in a police investigation”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H…..ted_States

      Note: Wiki’s list states it is legal in VA, but I have 2nd-hand knowledge of a driver having been ticketed there as well.

  26. They should add a service fee to each car through the DUI checkpoint as a use tax to support the effort.

  27. I don’t care how many illegal things are caught at these kind of roadblocks. They are unconstitutional! The police are supposed to have probable cause to stop a person or a car. To give up some of our Constitutional rights for a good cause leads down the slippery slope to the government taking our rights away. We have to protest and let the Federal government and all state governments that we are not going to allow them to take away are Constitutional rights for any reason!

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