RIM pulls drunken driving 'app' from Blackberry

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The Independent Tech

US senators on Wednesday said that Research In Motion (RIM) has promised to get rid of a Blackberry software program designed to help drunk drivers evade police checkpoints.

The move came a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg and Tom Udall urged Google, Apple and Canada-based RIM to remove such third-party software from shops stocked with applications for smartphones.

"Drunk drivers will soon have one less tool to evade law enforcement and endanger our friends and families," the senators said in joint statement.

"We appreciate RIM's immediate reply and urge the other smartphone makers to quickly follow suit."

The senators want to purge smartphones of applications that use driver-generated databases of speed traps, speed cameras, or even drunk driving checkpoints to help drunken drivers avoid police.

Popular smartphone program PhantomAlert asks potential customers on its website: "Tired of traffic tickets? The embarrassment, the time, the points, the frustration, the money?"

"You will be alerted as you approach: Railroad Crossings, Dangerous Intersections, Dangerous Curves, Speed Bumps, Speed Traps, Speed Cameras, Red Light Cameras, School Zones, DUI Checkpoints."

DUI means "driving under the influence," or intoxicated.

PhantomAlert chief executive Joe Scott called the lawmakers' appeal "a knee-jerk reaction" and said his company was helping to "deter drivers from drinking and driving" by making them more aware of the risk of arrest.

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