Sobering News

NYPD Demands That Google Stop Flagging DWI Checkpoints on Waze

Cops: if you flag police checkpoints, you're breaking the law.

2. 7. 19 by Dan Robitzski
MaxPixel/Victor Tangermann
Image by MaxPixel/Victor Tangermann

Cease and Desist

Drivers using Waze, Google’s community-driven traffic app, have the option of flagging police checkpoints meant to spot drunk drivers. The idea was to help drivers circumvent traffic, but the New York Police Department says it’s helping boozed up motorists escape justice.

The NYPD recently sent a cease and desist letter to Google over the weekend. The letter argues that the Waze feature is irresponsible — and that the individuals who flag police checkpoints could be considered to have participated in criminal behavior, according to CBS New York.

Wazed and Confused

CBS New York and StreetsBlog NYC published portions of the NYPD’s letter. The bulk of the letter, copied below, makes it clear that the NYPD sees the feature as a tool that helps people get away with drunk driving.

“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.”

Enough is Enough

This isn’t the first time that police have complained about Waze’s police-tracking feature. The National Sheriff’s Association first raised concerns about the service back at a 2015 meeting, according to Mashable, after a cop-killer posted Waze screenshots to Instagram suggesting they were using the app to track down police.


But this time, the NYPD is playing hardball. The letter goes on:

“The NYPD will pursue all legal remedies to prevent the continued posting of this irresponsible and dangerous information.”

READ MORE: APP-HORRENT! Google Maps Now Helps Drivers Avoid Speed Cameras [StreetsBlog NYC]

More on Waze: By 2030, You’ll Be Living in a World That’s Run by Google


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