The New York Police Department (NYPD) sent Google a cease and desist letter regarding their navigation apps, Waze (download for Android and iOS) and Google Maps (download for iOS or Android) posting DUI checkpoints.
In the letter, discovered by Streetsblog, police said that by posting DUI checkpoints in the apps, Google is hampering criminal and traffic laws. Waze and Google Maps users can inform each other about speed cameras, speed traps and other police roadblocks.
The letter was posted to Scribd, but has since been removed.
While the public might view the checkpoints and speed cameras as hindrances, police said they help keep streets safe.
"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 NYPD's acting deputy commissioner for legal matters, Ann P. Prunty, wrote in the letter, as cited by The New York Times. "Revealing the location of checkpoints puts those drivers, their passengers, and the general public at risk."
The department plans to pursue legal action to stop Waze and Google Maps users from sharing the locations, Prunty wrote in the letter. It remains to be seen what steps will be taken.
In a statement, Google told The New York Times that "safety was a top priority" and "informing drivers about upcoming speed traps allows them to be more careful and make safer decisions when they're on the road."
Waze added its speed trap feature in 2015, and it quickly drew the attention of law enforcement. The navigation app's executives argued that people were more likely to drive carefully if they knew law enforcement was nearby.
The flipside of this is that people may just reroute to avoid a police roadblock if they've had a few drinks. This could put themselves and other drivers at risk.
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- In a cease and desist letter to Google, the NYPD said letting navigation app users inform each other about speed cameras, speed traps and other police roadblocks hinders traffic and criminal laws.
- Google made a similar argument as Waze did in 2015, saying that being aware of police roadblocks help drivers make better decisions.
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