Should there be an app for enabling DWI injuries?

Distracted driving and driving while intoxicated are not only dangerous acts; they are also illegal activities in New York. When a person is injured in an accident because of the dangerous driving of another person, the injury victim can seek compensation from the negligent driver in court.

The leading cause of distracted driving on the roads today is the use of hand-held computers and cell phones. Recently, we have seen a disturbing trend that combines the use of software, or apps, on these cell phones with drinking and driving.

The controversial apps include programs that are designed to give users location information about red light cameras, speed traps, and the location of DWI checkpoints. Four Democratic U.S. Senators, including New York’s Charles Schumer, have written a strongly worded letter to Apple, Google, Research in Motion and Blackberry App World requesting that these app stores stop selling apps that enable people to avoid DWI checkpoints.

In the letter, the Senators noted that one person is killed every 50 minutes because of drinking and driving and these apps will allow people who drink and drive to avoid law enforcement and stay on the road. The letter included a salient point from one police captain who asked what other purpose people who use these apps are going to use them for except to drink and drive.

So far, only one app store, Research in Motion, has pulled the DWI checkpoint apps from its store. The makers of these apps maintain that their apps will discourage drinking and driving by showing users how many DWI checkpoints there are around them. The Senators disagree. They believe people using these apps will use them to find an alternate route home that would be less likely to result in facing DWI charges.

Source: Time Techland, “Senators to App Stores: Get Rid of Pro-Drunk Driving Apps!,” Michelle Castillo, 3/23/2011

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