Police Warn Against Popular Traffic App Waze

People are using a new traffic app to warn others about police checkpoints near them.

A man uses his phone while driving.
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People are using a new traffic app to warn others about police checkpoints near them.

Waze is a new app designed specifically to help drivers have the easiest commute possible. Similar to other traffic apps, the user simply enters in their destination and is guided via GPS as they travel. It can also be used to help coordinate carpool with those who live and work nearby. Unlike similar traffic apps, users can post reports if they come along any inconveniences during their travels that others would likely want to avoid. Such inconveniences include heavy traffic, road side hazards, or vehicular accidents. However, Waze also allows users to alert others of police checkpoints in the area, according to Gizmodo.

If a Waze user was on their commute and happened to notice a police car waiting to catch speeders, they could send out an alert pointing out where exactly the law enforcement vehicle is located. Upon selecting this option, they can then specify whether the officer’s car is hidden or visible and what side of the road it’s on. This way, those that are going above the speed limit can slow down in time or take a different route to avoid getting a ticket. In addition, if drivers spot traffic cameras used to catch those who run red lights or break other traffic laws, they can alert others of such locations.

In theory, Waze might seem like a good idea. Prudent drivers can avoid costly tickets and other hazards along the road that could make them late to work. However, police worry that many are misusing the app. Informing drivers of a law enforcement presence could further enable reckless drivers, causing them to think they can get away with breaking the law. In addition, intoxicated drivers may be able to evade the law by avoiding routes with frequent police checkpoints.

NYPD recently released a statement dissuading Waze users from using the app for such purposes.

“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.”

The statement alone is enough to discourage most users to think twice before using the app at all.