Senators from numerous US states have made an appeal to Apple calling for them to pull any apps from the App Store that alert drunk drivers of supposed checkpoints. The official letter, which was also sent to RIM and Google, claims that giving drunk drivers such a tool would be putting innocent families and children at increased risk, and is this a matter of public concern. They specifically mentioned an app called PhantomAlert.
This is a live issue, with many varying opinions being held. The developer, for instance, claims that the app is legal, and that in fact police officers often advertise the checkpoint locations themselves, warning drivers to be careful in certain areas, and also never to drink and drive.
There are several points to consider. On the one hand, the argument could be made that these types of apps may raise awareness of drivers to slow down, follow the posted signs and speed limits, and be more likely to reconsider getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. In essence, the argument would be that by raising such awareness, the app would actually decrease risk of actual harm by impaired driving.
On the other hand, an argument from the other side might claim that the App merely places a tool in drivers’ hands that enables them to drive while impaired, and increase their chances of getting away with it, although it it is truly the case that these checkpoints are often announced, this argument would simply be reduced to a “convenience of information” type of argument.
What are your thoughts? Please vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments!