WASHINGTON (AFP) – Apple, in a move hailed by a group of US senators, has agreed not to allow any new iPhone applications in the App Store that identify police drunk-driving checkpoints.
Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg and Tom Udall urged Apple, Blackberry maker Research In Motion and Google in March to ban smartphone applications that could help intoxicated drivers avoid police.
The Canada-based RIM immediately complied but Apple and Google initially refused.
Apple, however, changed its App Store guidelines this week to ban future applications that contain information on drunk-driving checkpoints not published by the police.
The senators praised the move but expressed disappointment that the California gadget-maker had declined to remove existing applications from the App Store.
“I commend Apple Inc for taking this important first step towards making our roads and neighborhoods safer from drunk drivers,” Reid said. “However, I strongly encourage Apple to take the next responsible step of removing all applications that allow unsafe drivers to evade police checkpoints.”
One 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.