It used to be that people trying to avoid speed traps would hook up a radar detector in their car and listen for the beeps indicating police radar up ahead. Times have definitely changed. Now if someone wants to avoid a speed trap, there’s an app for that. The problem is these apps aren’t designed just for speed traps – they’re also helping people avoid police drinking and driving road checks.
There are a lot of different driving apps on the app store, and one of the most popular is PhantomAlert. This app downloads data to your phone so you know which intersections have red light cameras, where school zones are, and the location of speed traps. Obviously one of the benefits of such an app for a driver is avoiding costly speeding tickets and giving you the fastest route to wherever you need to go, and some of the fans of PhantomAlert have even said the app makes them a more aware and safe driver.
Unfortunately, there’s also a feature on the app where you can be alerted to where police have set up roadchecks to find people driving under the influence (DUI), and that’s not sitting well with law enforcement. Besides giving drivers a free and clear road to speed with a lower risk of getting stopped for it, the DUI roadcheck feature gives people a false sense of security when they make the choice to drink and drive. Instead of finding a designated driver or calling a cab, they’ll just look at their app, find the roadchecks, and avoid them on their way home. But that knowledge won’t stop them if they’re so intoxicated they crash their vehicle and potentially injure or kill themselves or others.
Maybe the PhantomAlert app does make a driver more aware of their surroundings so they can plan the safest route home, but the DUI road check feature has the potential to create a false sense of safety for drinking drivers. A drinking and driving conviction will net you fines, potential jail time, and a possible interlock device, and that would be the least of your worries if you killed someone because you were too drunk to drive. Is the information you gain from an app like PhantomAlert really worth the potential cost?
Image from Phantomalert.com