Apple bans sobriety checkpoint apps

Planned on sneaking around sobriety checkpoints this weekend? Think again. Apple has effectively banned drunk-driving apps.

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(Source: Flickr, William Hook)

On Wednesday, under political pressure, Apple revamped its app developer guidelines to prohibit apps that map the locations of sobriety checkpoints. Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry, has removed its sobriety-checkpoint apps.

In a letter to RIM, Google and Apple, Sens. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Mark Udall argued the apps aid drunken drivers:

With more than 10,000 Americans dying in drunk-driving crashes every year, providing access to applications that alert users to DUI checkpoints is harmful to public safety.

Apps like DUI Dodger, Checkpointer, PhantomALERT and Tipsy allow users to submit and locate sobriety checkpoints in their area; some also include speed traps and red-light cameras. A few of the apps are still available today in the iTunes app store. Apple usually allows developers a grace period to update their apps to meet new guidelines before pulling them.

The only way around sobriety checkpoints this weekend is by walking, public transportation or taxi — unless, that is, you have an Android phone. Google has refused to ban their sobriety apps, which seems kind of evil to us.

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