DUI App: Sorry Senators, We’re in iTunes Store to Stay


Picture 4


UPDATE: CEO Joe Scott retracted the statements made in the press release quoted below. That story is available here.

When Apple sidelined new apps that were tipping off tipsy drivers about DUI checkpoints, we wondered what would happen to the apps that were already in the iTunes store.

Some of them — like Trapster — pulled the DUI alerts while continuing to offer info on speed traps.

But PhantomALERT just issued a press release boasting about how it stayed in iTunes “defying” the senators who pressured Apple to ban apps with DUI checkpoint info.

“While other DUI apps got cut — PhantomALERT was saved and is here to stay because they only include DUI checkpoints that are announced by police in advance (via text, website or press release) so PhantomALERT is just reporting locations that are already public!”

Because Apple cannot stop applications from using publicly-available information from police and local authorities, this was in part expected.  Trapster reportedly pulled the DUI info because they didn’t want to fight Apple over it and DUI Dodger is exhorting people to download before they comply with the new guidelines.

It’s the braggadocio about DUI checkpoints that’s surprising.

The free app, which has an all-ages 4+ rating, works off a red light camera database covering every photo-intersection in the U.S. and Canada. PhantomALERT gives audio and visual alerts as drivers approach these intersections, helping them avoid expensive tickets.

Apple recently released new guidelines that put the kibosh on new apps with DUI checkpoints after bowing to pressure from lawmakers following a U.S. senate hearing.

PhantomAlert’s press people want to entice journos to set up interviews with the “entrepreneur who stuck it out and won against four powerful senators.”

While I can get behind the chutzpah of the press release, being seen as potentially enabling drunk drivers is a non-starter.

How long to you think they’ll last in iTunes now?

  • Sheldon Stokes

    Good, DUI checkpoints are a blatant cash-grab and a violation of the 4th amendment.  Although I never drink and drive, I want to know where they are so I can avoid them and the traffic jam associated with them.


  • Michael bmoc Dalessandro II

    Lets be real for a moment,

    If i can navigate my smart phone and look on the map to see where the DUI check points are, then I can certainly navigate my vehicle past said checkpoint with ease and without suspicion.

  • rawrscary

    So DUI checkpoints violate the 4th amendment. I don’t understand why they are even still in place? How does the government get away with a blatant violation like that?

    I completely disagree with Apple removing these Apps based on the government requesting them to do so. They aren’t illegal. The only thing they do is limit the amount of money the government can illegally claim from people.

  • rawrscary

    That’s pretty much the whole point. Pretty sure if you’re smashed at 3am coming home from a bar, you’re not going to be navigating anywhere without suspicion.

  • SpanishTeacher

    Yeah but the 1000’s of people killed by drunk drivers every year don’t need them to have a “heads up”.  Drunk drivers are only one step above child molesters on the scum bag totem pole.

  • Rann Xeroxx

    This is kinda like the cops not wanting people to video them. Sorry but this is the world we live in. If you can have traffic cams then we can have apps and let people report DUI check points.  The cops just have to adapt and maybe have the ability to setup one quickly, run it for an hour, the break it down. You have to have someone with an iPhone, with this app, and they have to update it to make it useful. Then the drunk would have to be checking the app within that hour to skip the road check.

    I never understood the reasons that cops could not just wait outside bars and check people. They have reasonable cause to think you might be drinking.

    My wife and I go out on the weekend and we just take turns on who is the driver for the night and they get diet coke.

  • Kyle McGuire

    How is this not a violation of free speech? The app isn’t inciting violence or presenting a clear and present danger!