Md. Officials Want To Ban DUI Checkpoint Mobile Apps

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Can they really ban an app because it tells people where the checkpoints are?

They don’t ban radar detectors, CB radios, or flashing your lights to tell someone a speed trap is up ahead. I really doubt a drunk driver is going to check an app before driving. The whole problem with drunk drivers is they’re not thinking clearly. They either 1) don’t think they’re drunk, or b) are too drunk to be careful.

Where I live (Ontario), they have indeed banned radar detectors. I think there was a court case involving someone getting a ticket for flashing the lights to warn other motorists about a speed trap, but I may be misremembering. CB radios are still legal, though I haven’t seen one in years.

It’s an interesting question. Would this ban be only in Maryland? A phone is not a special-purpose piece of hardware, like a radar detector. Would visitors have to erase such apps from their phones when arriving? Would the police then have the right to search through phones looking for such an app?

(Do the states differ on whether radar detectors are banned?)

Yeah, they do; they’re illegal in Virginia, I know, and legal in many other states.

I’d use such an app to avoid checkpoints not because I’m drunk (I don’t even drink at all), but because I’d want to avoid the hassle of dealing with Sparky the Wonder Cop and the long lines of people waiting to be checked.

They can outlaw the app, someone might eventually try and test it by suing. Personally I think it’s a waste of time. The system is dependent on user alerts. If law enforcement really wants to discourage use, just make it unreliable by flooding the system with a copious amount of false alerts! Better yet use false alerts to divert traffic toward your stop. Hell, just sick the MADD ladies on the app. I’m sure they would happily register hundreds of false stops every weekend which would render the app useless.

Radar detectors are legal in every state except for Virginia, and are also banned in Washington, DC and all military installations.

They are banned nationwide for commercial drivers.

Isn’t this in the wheelhouse for First Amendment rights?

The funny thing here in Maryland though is they have to say ahead of time when and where they will be putting the checkpoint up. They also have to tell us where they put up the red light and speed cameras. So what’s the difference anyway?

In my 22 years of driving I’ve never been through a checkpoint here in Maryland, and the first time I’ve ever been through one was in West Virginia and that was late last year.

Yes, and the Attorney General of Maryland agrees. He just wants Apple and Google to voluntarily stop selling the apps:

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-1079

(not legal advice! Danger Will Robinson!) Apparently, in Virginia, radar detectors are not illegal to possess, only to use. So, in theory, if your fuzz buster is unplugged, they can’t nail you under this statute.

They also can’t be sold in the state.

I think you might have missed this part:

So unplugged detector in the trunk, okay. Unplugged detector on the dash, probably not okay.

Someone ought to make a fake radar detector with blinky lights. Of course I am becoming more and more a troublemaker as I age.

You’re hardly the first to think of it…

…although I don’t think the point of your idea is to fake out the owners themselves.

I wonder if that’s in all states, because AFAICT, the DUI checkpoints are announced ahead of time and made public knowledge in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio as well.

Ditto California. They announce them before every major holiday that involves “celebrating.”

A few weeks back I was in a bar. The bartender turned off the jukebox, and announced the location of a DUI checkpoint. I asked her later how she knew. A customer called her with the info. So, now there’s an app for that?:wink:

I know. The real vicious checkpoints with K-9 dogs and passport checking come out on June 14th around here.