Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Police demand Google remove speed trap, drunk driver checkpoint alerts

Police demand Google remove speed trap, drunk driver checkpoint alerts

According to a letter sent by the NYPD to the tech giant and seen by CBS New York, law enforcement has put Google "on notice" over DWI checkpoints being mapped on the crowd-based traffic app, Waze.

"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", the letter said. Many users view it as a harmless way to avoid getting speeding tickets, but others use the app to point out police checkpoints, including those setup for DUI prevention.

The activity is also helping drunk drivers avoid detection and capture, the NYPD asserts, making the roads more unsafe to the drivers, their passengers, and the general public.

While the NYPD says informing drunk drivers about roadblocks is unsafe, Google claims the feature is there to inform users of speed traps.

The application in question is Waze, a community-based navigation app that allows users to report vehicle accidents, traffic jams, and police activity.

Google-owned Waze has come under fire from police once again, receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the New York Police Department over the app's references to officer locations.

A Google spokesperson had a similar response, telling the Verge: 'We believe that informing drivers about upcoming speed traps allows them to be more careful and make safer decisions when they're on the road'. According to the document obtained by, the NYPD is specifically concerned about the listing of police DWI checkpoints.

But she said that sobriety checkpoints were frequently publicized in advance and that even when drivers were warned about them, they served their goal. While pressure from the Senate prompted Apple to remove some drunk-driving checkpoint apps in 2011, Google refused to fold. After the fatal shooting of two NY police officers in December 2014, law enforcement officials called for the feature to be removed over concerns that it threatened officers' safety.

The icon only notes that users have reported a general police presence in the area.

The NYPD expresses concerns over the feature's alleged potential to help individuals engage in "criminal conduct", and that the alerts may interfere with the city's ability to catch people breaking the law. "It just allows you to be prevented from being arrested".

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