The NYPD is now demanding that Google stop sharing information with drivers about DWI checkpoints in the navigation application Waze, according to a cease and desist letter obtained by CBS New York. "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", NYPD acting Deputy Commissioner Ann Prunty said in a letter to Google dated February 2.
The activity is also helping drunk drivers avoid detection and capture, the NYPD asserts, making the roads more risky to the drivers, their passengers, and the general public. But people who use the app's police-reporting feature can leave detailed comments on the cartoonish icon of a mustachioed police officer that pops up.
Andrey Bayda/Dreamstime.comThe New York City Police Department (NYPD) wants Google to trash a feature on one of its apps that lets users report drunk-driving checkpoints.
"We believe highlighting police presence promotes road safety because drivers tend to drive more carefully and obey traffic laws when they are aware of nearby police". "Safety is a top priority when developing navigation features at Google". According to the document obtained by, the NYPD is specifically concerned about the listing of police DWI checkpoints.
This isn't the first time that police have tried to get Google to muzzle Waze: In 2015, USA police asked Google to pull the plug on citizens using the mobile app to "stalk" police locations, regardless of whether they're on their lunch break, assisting with a broken-down vehicle on the highway, or hiding in wait to nab speeders. Google purchased Waze in 2013.
This means users can report speed traps, accidents, traffic, police activity and other alerts on their route, which will appear for other users in the app.
On Wednesday, the executive director of the sheriffs' association, Jonathan Thompson, said Waze's police feature seemed created to enable people to circumvent law enforcement. The app has long tracked this kind of information.
Navigation and mapping app Waze asks its users to provide information on crashes, construction, speed traps and DWI checkpoints.
"The NYPD will pursue all legal remedies to prevent the continued posting of this irresponsible and unsafe information", the letter read, according to the blog post.