FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2011-06-14
The summer holidays are prime opportunities for police to step up driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement, and Memorial Day was no exception. Across the country, DUI checkpoints were in place over the long weekend to deter and catch drunk drivers. But, a new software application, or app, widely available for cell-phone users has some rethinking the efficacy of DUI checkpoints.
Early Warning for Drivers
DUI checkpoints are temporary sites set up on roads and highways where law-enforcement officers stop every vehicle to check for signs of driver intoxication. A series of new programs easily downloadable to cell phones or other mobile devices allow drivers to electronically view these DUI checkpoints in real time in order to avoid them.
The latest app, the DUI Dodger, alerts users of any DUI checkpoints within a 50-mile radius. If a new checkpoint pops up or a site is inaccurately listed as a checkpoint, drivers may input corrections that will be disseminated to others with the DUI Dodger app.
In addition to displaying local checkpoints, the DUI Dodger includes a built-in balance test meant to roughly simulate the walk-the-line sobriety test, a listing of common facts and myths about impaired driving, and a rubric for gauging blood-alcohol content based on the user’s answers to certain questions.
Disagreement over Purpose
The makers of the DUI Dodger insist that the purpose of the app is to heighten awareness of the inherent dangers of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Some believe this is a laudable goal: simply knowing that a checkpoint is in the area could serve as a reminder for drivers to drink less, and the information the app provides could persuade some drivers not to get in the car after drinking. Also, some law-enforcement experts cite the fact that most DUI checkpoints are placed at bottlenecks that drunk drivers cannot circumvent as a reason why the advance warning provided by the DUI Dodger will not hinder enforcement.
However, not everyone is on board with the DUI Dodger and similar programs. Four members of the United States Senate are pressuring major software companies to stop selling apps that they believe help users avoid DUI checkpoints. So far, their efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
DUI charges can carry severe consequences. If you were arrested for DUI at a checkpoint or other location, promptly contact a criminal defense attorney in your area.