For those of us who travel outside New York City, either upstate or in neighboring communities, the appearance of drunk driving checkpoints is no big surprise. They are commonly found on highways and on local roads throughout New York and throughout the country. They are not as prevalent, however, in the middle of large cities. Many baseball fans were shocked, therefore, when they learned that a number of the checkpoints had been established near Yankee Stadium this past Friday night.
By and large, checkpoints are not set up in an attempt to make a dent in the overall DWI problem through arrests; there are simply too many intoxicated drivers on the road. Rather, it is the potential presence of the stops and the threat of being arrested that law enforcement hopes will deter people from driving drunk. In any event, it has now been confirmed that sobriety stops were established in the Bronx on the Edward L. Grant Highway at University Avenue; at Grand Concourse at 146th Street; on 155th street (Manhattan); and on 179th street, also in Manhattan. There is no report on the number of stops made at the checkpoints, or on the number of people ticketed and/or arrested for DWI or other alleged offenses.
What we found more interesting than the stops themselves was the news that there are now apps that can be downloaded on your iPhone or Android, which will locate checkpoints for you, and apparently allow you to avoid them by changing your route. A number of senators have recently requested that Blackberry, Apple and Google remove that apps because, the senators say, they allow drunk drivers to evade the checkpoints. One story indicates that Blackberry has acceded to the request, but that no agreement has been forthcoming from Apple or Google.
The sobriety apps, in fact, do nothing that is illegal. They don’t, for example, transmit sexually explicit material; they aren’t slanderous; nor is the information transmitted by the app illegal in itself. What we have, really, is a new version of the old radar detector that sat on the dashboard of your car. And in case you were wondering . . . yes, there’s an app for detecting police radar traps, too. In fact, if you check your app store, you’ll find a host of them.
George Vomvolakis Law Offices
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New York, NY 10016